The first settlement of Clark County appears to have been in York Township, on the Wabash River, and among the first to arrive was Thomas Handy and family, who, In 1814, came from New York by way of the Allegheny, Ohio and Wabash Rivers to Vincennes, Ind., and from there by boat to the spot where the village of York now stands. After a short time they went on to Section 18. In York Township, where they erected temporary shelter, but not being able to enter land at that time, they removed in 1816 to Section 16. where they made their future home. In 1816 came William Hogue, from Virginia, who soon went on to Terre Haute, Ind. David Hogue and the Richardson and Fitch families came also this same year. There were two of the Richardson boys, John and Joseph, and they came from New York, where they had formerly been prosperous business men, but having suffered reverses, they sought the rich and fertile but wild land of York Township as their future homes. Most of the early and more prominent settlers of York came from New York, and to this fact does the township owe Its ancient and euphonious name. John F. Richardson, son of John Richardson, was a keen, far seeing business man, and he entered, in his own name and that of his kindred and friends, large tracts of the rich prairie lands of York Township. His brother, George, was also a fine business man, who subsequently went to Texas, where he amassed quite a fortune. Chester Fitch, a relative of the Richardsons, came with them. Jonathan Lindley, accompanied by his brothers, came about this time from North Carolina, but the brothers stopped In Crawford County. Jonathan settled on Section 8, in York Township, in the neighborhood of the fine farms of William and John Marvin, on Lower Walnut Prairie. About this time landed, from the Wabash, and also from New York, James C. Hillebert. and in walking the single plank which led from the boat to the shore, Mrs. Hillebert fell off into the river, but a man by the name of Welsh was on hand, and after great difficulty, and after she had nearly drowned him, succeeded in saving her life by pulling her out by the hair. She is the first person of whom history speaks as having been involuntarily Immersed In the waters of the beautiful Wabash. James C. Hillebert was the father-in-law of William B. Hodge, who was a mere child when he came to York with his parents, having been born two years previous at Terre Haute, Ind.. May 23. 1818. He is the oldest living resident of the ancient village, which has been his home for about eighty-six years. James Bennet, who still lives at West York, was born within a mile of York. January 25. 1822, and is doubtless the oldest living native son of the community. Samuel Lacy and John S. Bradbury, both over eighty years of age. have lived In the vicinity all their lives, though Mr. Bradbury was about six years of age when be came here with his parents from North Carolina. James C. Hillebert, who was also the grandfather, on his maternal side, of William B. Hodge. Jr.. was a man of brains and energy, who soon acquired a large amount of property for those times. He was always very prominent in county and community affairs, especially in the bitter wars of Auburn and Marshall for the county seat, in which he championed Auburn.
Joseph Shaw also arrived at York in 1818, from Kentucky. He was an aristocrat of the old school, but a fine business man. and soon acquired quite a fortune.
Isaac Moore and John Chenoweth, the former from Virginia and the latter from Kentucky, also came in 1816. though Chenoweth had arrived at Vincennes In 1814. Moore died at Natchez. La., in the spring of 1835. while returning from New Orleans, where he had gone with a raft from York. Chenoweth grew rich and prosperous, but subsequently suffered reverses, and went to Edgar County In 1S55. His grandson. M. R. Chenoweth. one of the best known and wealthiest men in the county, still lives at Marshall, and still owns about 600 acres of the fine land in York Township, upon which his grandfather settled in 1816.
George Catron came In 1817. from Tennessee, where he was a member of one of the most prominent families of that State, his brother being at that time an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Samuel Prevo. the ancestor of the innumerable Prevos of York, Darwin and Marshall Townships. Clark County, and of Sullivan County, Ind., came also from North Carolina in 1817. He was the first County Judge of Clark County, and was known as "Judge Prevo" and "Headstrong Prevo," being regarded as the most willful, stubborn and headstrong man in the county. He ran for the Legislature and was beaten, but his son, Samuel Prevo, father of the present Samuel Prevo, of Marshall, who is Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and an exofflcio member of the Board of Review of Clark County, received the honor his father desired, and was elected to the Legislature of Illinois from Clark County. In 1818 came, from New York, John Parker, who was drowned In Raccoon Creek while crossing this stream at high water.
William Ketcbum came also from New York in 1818, and his name has persisted in York for more than eighty years. William Ketchum was a carpenter, and soon had plenty of work. Reuben Crowe also came in from North Carolina the same year, and his descendants still live in York and Melrose Townships. Ambrose Pease arrived about this time from Sacket Harbor, N. Y., having traveled by sleigh to the Allegheny, and thence by boat to York.
Zachariah Archer came also this year, following his brother Charles, who had arrived the year before. In 1819, Reason Bell came from North Carolina, he and his wife riding on horseback, and their only child, Wiley 0. Bell, father of the writer, held in his mother's arms, he having been born two years before in Randolph County, N. C. Wiley O. Bell lived in York Township for eighty-four consecutive years, never more than two miles from York, and died at West York, September 23. 1901, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. At his death he was the oldest living resident of York Township. Reason Belt, the grandfather of the writer, entered the quarter-section of land in Section 32 where James Nicol now resides, and built the brick house still occupied by Mr. Nicol, it being the first brick residence in York Township. In this house the writer was born January 5. 1849, and within 300 feet of it, on the public highway, his youngest brother. Charles L. Bell, was murdered on July 14. 1896, by David McDonald and John Clements. McDonald firing the fatal shot that pierced his heart. Reason Bell was a prominent, well-to-do early settler, and died at his home in York Township in January, 1S34. when about forty years of age. Samuel Prevo, the son of Judge Samuel Prevo., was his administrator, and among the estate papers is an account filed against the estate in the handwriting of Robert L. Dulaney, who was then clerking in his Uncle Woodford Dulaney's general store, which shows that whiskey and tobacco were articles of prime necessity In every well regulated household in those early days. The Dulaneys, Woodford and Robert L. were among the early settlers of York. In 1815 came, from New York, Lawrence Holienbeck, who was the father of thirteen children, among them being Lawrence, John, David, Peter, William, Nathan, Hannah and Elizabeth. He was the grandfather of John Milton Hollenbeck, who still resides in Darwin Township, and who is the father of Judge William T. Holienbeck, and still has in his possession at his home in Hatton, Darwin Township, a powder horn made in 1816. In 1820 came Jesse Miller, who afterwards had to flee the county to escape death at the hands of the enraged citizens, who believed that he bad poisoned his wife to make room for a young woman then living in his family. Miller was not a doctor, and his wife having become sick, he prescribed for her with what certainly appeared to be suspicious results.
In 1824 Reese Prltchard and his family came to York from Virginia, among them Stephen Pritchard, who lived all his life in York, and died there a few years ago. Ira, William, Henry and Samuel Prevo, the sons of Samuel Prevo. the son of Judge Prevo, were all born, lived and died at ripe old ages In York Township.
Until his recent death Perry C. Murphy was, with the exception of William B. Hodge, the oldest living resident of the village of York. Mr. Hodge is approaching ninety years of age. and lives in York. Mr. Murphy was a man of property, an ardent Free Mason, and one of the best known, most highly respected and prominent citizens of that part of the county. Considerable trouble was given the people of York in those early times by the Indians, who had enlisted under the flag of Great Britain in the War of 1812, and who were slow to find out that the war had closed with the defeat of those for whom they had fought. William Hogue, who had come to York In 1816, was a great hunter—the Nimrod of that part of the county—and he was known to have shot and killed two Indians. The first was killed just across the river from York, after he had first shot at and missed Hogue, and the other was killed as he was skulking up on Hogue's little son, who had started home on horseback with a deer he had killed. Hogue was following behind his son, and seeing the Indian skulking from tree to tree along the way the son was going, and manifestly Intending to kill him and secure the horse and deer as soon as he got out of the sight and hearing of his father, fired and killed the Indian to save the boy. Many Indians, principally Kickapoo, who were generally friendly to the white settlers, came to York to trade the skins of wild animals for ammunition, trinkets, whiskey and dry-goods, but after 1830 they were seen only at rare Intervals, as they passed through York on their way to the farther and more thinly settled West.
Dr. Tutt was one of the early practicing physicians of York, as was also Dr. Charles Johnson (Abijah Edmunds), who had come for some mysterious cause from Boston, and was a man of fine education and great force of character. He at first kept a store at York, but afterwards studied medicine, and for many years was one of the leading physicians and most influential men of the county. Dr. Charles Gorham. Dr. D. O. McCord, Dr. John M. Janes, Drs. Brown, Prewett, the McBride boys, Thomas and Clary, all practiced medicine with marked success, and Drs. Johnson, Gorham, McCord and Janes acquired more than local renown.
The business of flat boating was an early and profitable one In York, and remained so until after the completion of the north and south railroad through that part of the county. Darwin, York, Hutsonville and other river towns ran many such boats to New Orleans, and a good deal of money was made in that way by John Richardson, Ambrose and Lewis Pease, his son, John Holienbeck, Isaac Moore, Wiley O. Bell, Hathaway Linton and others who engaged quite extensively in river commerce. Wiley Bell, Lewis Pease, Linton and others lost heavily in the great Natchez storm of the thirties, as most of their boats that were tied up there at the time were destroyed or damaged. Wiley Bell was often heard to tell how, when the storm caught the boat, and while it was tossing in the angry waves of the Mississippi, an old negro was observed on board with a large Bible under his arm. After the storm had subsided, and while the boat was lying high on the banks of the river, where it had been thrown by the wind and waves, the Bible was found soaked with water, but still intact, but the old negro was seen or heard of no more. The Bible Mr. Bell brought home and kept for many years, and it was even in existence a few years ago in York Township.
Several early incidents of a striking character in York Township are remembered and talked of, even to this day. The great circus fight between the Dolson boys, Samuel, Tunis, Jacob, Ham, Daniels, Stephen Fears, Stephen Pritchard and others, and the circus men, resulted in several mutilations and one or two deaths. The fight, about which men and women talked for years, was started by Samuel Dolson, and grew out of the ruin of the new spring hat of Dolson's wife by the rain. A terrific storm of wind and rain came up while the show was going on. and the tent had to be lowered to prevent It from being torn into ribbons. In doing so, the rain poured in upon the people and the aforesaid new spring hat was ruined. Dolson resented this, quarreled with one of the showmen, and finally struck him. The fight then became general, vicious, brutal and bloody. Tent stakes, neckyokes from wagons, clubs, stones and fists were all used, and several men badly Injured. The showmen bad the best of the first round, but that night the injured citizens and their friends rallied and drove the circus from town without any night performance. It is related that Stephen Fears, who was a quiet, powerful, well-known fighting machine of that early day, was busily engaged in slipping upon the different fighting showmen and felling them one after another with well directed blows behind the ears from his powerful fist. His pastime, however, was finally discovered, and one of the showmen struck him an awful blow with the neckyoke of a wagon, knocking him down and under a wagon, where he lay for some time with the blood running out of his ears. The "subsequent proceedings interested him no more." The murder of one Lacy by Joseph Evans, sixty-five years ago, the first homicide ever committed in York, created intense excitement, and was talked of for years. Evans was the son of Benjamin Evans, one of the early settlers and most prominent and respected men in York vicinity, and this fact, added to the prominence of Lacy, and the circumstances following the killing, but added to the widespread interest of the tragedy. Evans was a carpenter, and was building a house for Lacy on the southwest corner of the block in York where John Keller now resides, and just west of the old Bardell residence, which still stands. Evans had been drinking, and when Lacy abused him he became so enraged that he struck the latter on the head with a large plane he was using and killed him. Evans was arrested and taken to jail at Marshall, but was soon released by his friends and returned to his father, who then lived in the old Evans Bradbury house about sixty rods south of the present home of John S. Bradbury, in Crawford County. Here he was secreted in wheat fields and other places for about a month, and finally was taken in a canoe by William White down the Wabash River to a boat at Vlncennes, Ind., aboard which he passed into the great wilderness of the Southwest to be seen or heard of no more in this part of the country. What became of him was never known. He had married Sophia Long, and had one child, now an inmate of the Soldiers" Home at Quincy, 111. His wife lived for many years in York, and died after vainly hoping and praying that she might see the husband and father again. Evans had many brothers, sisters, relatives and friends, and his misfortune cast a gloom over them all that was never lifted. The writer remembers well, when a boy, often seeing "Aunt Sophia," as the wife of Joseph Evans was affectionately called, press her hands pathetically to her broken heart and hurst Into tears as she rushed from the presence of those around her, but be did not then know the cause of it all, as the mother of the writer was the niece of the absent Evans, and of course interested in maintaining the Evans secret. It was in fact so well kept by all the large family of relatives that it was only in recent years that any of them could be induced to talk of it at all. This was one of the saddest cases of misfortune, absence, waiting, heartbroken love and devotion, on the part of the wife and son, brothers, sisters and other relatives of Joseph Evans, that Clark County has ever had. His last surviving brother, Nixon Evans, died in Melrose Township a few years ago.
The shooting of William H. Ayers by Jack Dixon, accompanied by Thomas Files, in 1869 or 1870, at York. Ill., also created great excitement Ayers was a desperado from Ricbford, Tioga County. X. Y., who came to York shortly alter the Civil War. He was a man of energy and push, but had a violent temper and was so dishonest and criminal In his methods of doing business that he kept the south part of the county In a turmoil of excitement and trouble for years. For the ten years of his residence in York the criminal dockets of the Clark County courts were rarely free from cases of The People vs. William H. Ayers. He was a known bigamist, four times repeated, having left a wife at Richford. N Y., and having married at least four other women in Clark County, in Indiana and Michigan. Dixon and Files, who were officers, were trying to levy an execution on a horse and buggy belonging to Ayers. when he resisted, drew a weapon on the officers, and was shot by Dixon. The wound was not fatal and Evans recovered. Dixon and Files were tried in the Circuit Court of Clark County for shooting Ayers and acquitted through the able defense of John Scholfield and James C. Robinson. Ayers was frequently shot at, several times wounded, shot at several men himself, and was finally driven out of the town of York by Its enraged citizens. As Ayers. with a string of wagons carrying his goods, passed out of the town, he was followed by a posse beating tin pans, drums and other instruments of noise making, as an expression of their great pleasure at getting rid of him.
The murder of Charles L. Bell, the youngest brother of the writer, near the Nicol residence, a mile west of York, on July 14. 1896, by David McDonald and John Clements, was the next startling occurrence in York Township. Great excitement and Intense feeling prevailed In Clark and Crawford Counties. 111., and in Sullivan County, Ind., where Bell was well known, and where he had many friends and some bitter enemies. Bell was the son of Wiley O. Bell, one of the early settlers of York Township, and his murder was so wanton, brutal and inexcusable, that feeling ran high for a time. He bad had no trouble whatever with his slayers, though he bad had a difficulty with a relative of McDonald and Clements a few hours before, in which Bell had struck this relative and been fined for it. As soon as McDonald and Clements heard of this, they unhitched their horses from their plows in a field near York, hitched a team of mules to a wagon, procured ammunition, cleaned their pistols, practiced shooting for a time, then got into the wagon and went west of York along the public highway where they knew they would meet Bell, as be came from West York. They did meet him, as they expected, coming into York in a buggy, and McDonald deliberately shot him through the heart as he was jumping from his buggy to get away from them. He was left dead in the road, while McDonald and Clements, whipping up their mule team, drove on west a few miles to the home of their relative, Daniel Clements, who had had the trouble with Bell in the morning, where they were arrested the same night by the Sheriff and taken to Marshall. They were indicted and tried at the following December term, 1896, of the Clark Circuit Court, convicted and sent to the penitentiary, at Chester. 111., for an indeterminate period. After serving a year or more in the penitentiary their parole was secured by the aid of their attorneys and powerful political friends, whereupon they returned to York, where in less than a week Clements died of pneumonia. McDonald still lives. They were prosecuted by H. C. Bell, P. G. Bradbury, a cousin of Charles L. Bell, T. L. Orndorff and Adam Gard, and defended by Graham & Tibbs, E. Callahan and George N. Parker. Judge Bookwalter, of Danville, presided at the trial, overruled a motion for a new trial, and Intimated that the defendants should have been convicted of murder.
Settlers began to locate in Darwin Township about the time or a little after they began arriving at York. Among the early arrivals were A. Snyder and Charles Neeley, who reached there in 1816. Neeley was the second County Judge, and at his house the first elections were held, and the County Commissioners' Court held its first meeting. In the same year came John Davidson, Jesse Ezra and others. In 1817. Lewis Bonn, the father of James Bonn, still of Darwin Township, arrived from Pennsylvania. He came by wagon and was weeks on the way. The Leonard brothers also came from New York the same year and located near the site of the future county seat at Aurora. They subsequently sold out to Dr. Septer Patrick, the first Justice of the Peace, as well as one of the first physicians of Clark County. In June, XS18, came Zachius Hassell. from Tennessee. He cleared up a good farm, made money and sold out to Zachariah Linton, moving first to Wabash Township and later to Farts. Linton was a native of Ohio, and ran a few flat boats down the river, as did his son Hathaway some time later. On one of his first trips to New Orleans the former had loaded his boat with wood, and while in New Orleans he got into trouble with some person, struck him on the bead with a stick of wood and killed him. Thereupon he was seized, summarily tried and as speedily hanged. His son Hathaway continued on his farm in Darwin Township, became a fine scholar, was very prominent in all county affairs, and was several times County Treasurer. In 1821. Samuel Tocum. a native of Kentucky, reached Darwin, and died soon after. He was a brotherinlaw of Nathaniel McClure. In this year also came Jacob Harlan from Ohio, and William B. Archer, then County Clerk, took him in the office with him. He afterwards married the daughter of John Chenoweth and became Postmaster. Clerk of the County Commissioners' Court. Recorder, County Judge and Notary Public, holding, frequently, several of these offices at one and the same time. John Chenoweth, his father-in-law, was in good financial circumstances, for the times, and Jacob, having taken unto himself a rich man's daughter as his wife, proceeded to get luxurious and built a hewed log house, something unusually fine in those primitive times. Nathaniel McClure came in from Kentucky In 1819, but died soon afterwards. He bad started to Fayette County, but liked Darwin and stopped there. William Nixon also came from Kentucky about the same time. In 1822, James P. Jones came to Darwin from New York. He kept a tavern at Darwin and was elected Sheriff in 1824, serving until 1831, seven years, an unusually long term for a Sheriff.
Darwin, the mecca of all these early settlers, was named by Dr. Septer Patrick, who appeared to have been a man of some literary attainments, after Charles Darwin, the noted naturalist and scientist Justin Harlan reached Darwin from Ohio in 1825, and he, together with TJri Manley, W. P. Bennett O. B. Ficklin, T. C. Cone, E. B. Webb. Nathaniel Huntington, Jacob Cole. John McLean, John M. Robinson. Wickliffe Kitchel, Henry W. Dunford, one Nash, Eldridge S. Janney, Aaron Shaw, Joshua McRoberts, Klrby Benedict, A. C. French, Charles Emerson, Alfred and Edward Kitchen and Josiah P. Cooper, were among the early lawyers that made the old and diminutive county court houses of Aurora and Darwin ring with the forensic eloquence in their defense and denunciation of litigants. Oratory was much more in vogue then than now and had much more influence in swaying court and jury, while the crowds were always there, and hung on the words of those orators as they have probably not since that time. There seems also to have been a lawyer by the name of Bell practicing in Darwin in those early times, but whether he was related to any of the other Bells of York and Darwin Township is not known, John McLean was the first Congressman from Illinois, was also United States Senator, and was elected three times to the Illinois Legislature. He was born in 1791, in North Carolina, and came to Illinois in 1815. He was one of the most brilliant and eloquent men Illinois ever knew, and died at Shawneetown, October 14, 1830. Wickliff Kitchell, lawyer, was born In New Jersey, May 21, 1789, and died January 2, 1869. He was a member of the Illinois Legislature from Crawford County, and also Attorney General of Illinois. Alfred Kitchell was born at Palestine, March 29, 1820, was State's Attorney, member of the Constitutional Convention of 1847, County Judge of Richland County, and Circuit Judge. Edward Kitchell, brother of Alfred, was born at Palestine, December 21, 1829, and died at Olney. July 11, 1869. He went to the gold fields of California in 1852. was a Colonel In the War of the Rebellion, and mustered out as Brigadier General by Brevet; ran for Congress in 1866, was Collector of Internal Revenue In 1868, and Presidential Elector In 1868. Aaron Shaw was afterwards several times Circuit Judge, and also a member of Congress. He was born in New York in 1811, and died some years since in Olney.
Wabash, the next township to be settled, had as first arrivals the Black family, which came in 1816. They came from Indiana, though originally from Kentucky. Mr. Black had five sons, John, William, James, Joseph and Thomas, and all were men of energy and influence. Richard Armstrong came with the Blacks. In 1816 came also the Perrys, Kuykendalls and the first physicians of Clark County. In June, 1818, came Zachius Hassell. from Tennessee. He cleared up a good farm, made money and sold out to Zacharlah Linton, moving first to Wabash Township and later to Faris. Linton was a native of Ohio, and ran a few flat boats down the river, as did his son Hathaway some time later. On one of his first trips to New Orleans the former bad loaded his boat with wood, and while in New Orleans he got Into trouble with some person, struck him on the head with a stick of wood and killed him. Thereupon he was seized, summarily tried and as speedily hanged. His son Hathaway continued on his farm in Darwin Township, became a fine scholar, was very prominent In all county affairs, and was several times County Treasurer. In 1821, Samuel Yocum. a native of Kentucky, reached Darwin, and died soon after. He was a brotherinlaw of Nathaniel McClure. In this year also came Jacob Harlan from Ohio, and William B. Archer, then County Clerk, took him In the office with him. He afterwards married the daughter of John Chenoweth and became Postmaster, Clerk of the County Commissioners' Court, Recorder, County Judge and Notary Public, holding, frequently, several of these offices at one and the same time. John Chenoweth, his fatherinlaw, was In good financial circumstances, for the times, and Jacob, having taken unto himself a rich man's daughter as his wife, proceeded to get luxurious and built a hewed log house, something unusually fine In those primitive times. Nathaniel McClure came In from Kentucky in 1819, but died soon afterwards. He had started to Fayette County, but liked Darwin and stopped there. William Nixon also came from Kentucky about the same time. In 1822, James P. Jones came to Darwin from New York. He kept a tavern at Darwin and was elected Sheriff in 1824, serving until 1831, seven years, an unusually long term for a Sheriff.
Darwin, the mecca of all these early settlers, was named by Dr. Septer Patrick, who appeared to have been a man of some literary attainments, after Charles Darwin, the noted naturalist and scientist. Justin Harlan reached Darwin from Ohio in 1825, and he, together with Uri Manley, W. P. Bennett. 0. B. Ficklin, T. C. Cone. E. B. Webb, Nathaniel Huntington, Jacob Cole. John McLean, John M. Robinson, Wickliffe Kltchel, Henry W. Dunford. one Nash. Eldrldge S. Janney, Aaron Shaw. Joshua McRoberts, Klrby Benedict, A. C. French, Charles Emerson. Alfred and Edward Kitchell and Jos la h P. Cooper, were among the early lawyers that made the old and diminutive county court houses of Aurora and Darwin ring with the forensic eloquence In their defense and denunciation of litigants. Oratory was much more in vogue then than now and had much more influence In swaying court and Jury, while the crowds were always there, and hung on the words of those orators as they have probably not since that time. There seems also to have been a lawyer by the name of Bell practicing in Darwin in those early times, but whether he was related to any of the other Bells of York and Darwin Township is not known. John McLean was the first Congressman from Illinois, was also United States Senator, and was elected three times to the Illinois Legislature. He was born in 1791, in North Carolina, and came to Illinois in 1815. He was one of the most brilliant and eloquent men Illinois ever knew, and died at Shawneetown, October 14, 1830. Wickllff Kitchell. lawyer, was born in New Jersey, May 31, 1789. and died January 2. 1869. He was a member of the Illinois Legislature from Crawford County, and also Attorney General of Illinois. Alfred Kitchell was born at Palestine, March 29, 1820. was State's Attorney, member of the Constitutional Convention of 1847, County Judge of Richland County, and Circuit Judge. Edward Kitchell. brother of Alfred, was born at Palestine, December 21, 1829, and died at Olney. July 11. 1869. He went to the gold fields of California In 1852. was a Colonel in the War of the Rebellion, and mustered out as Brigadier General by Brevet; ran for Congress in 1866. was Collector of Internal Revenue In 1868. and Presidential Elector in 1868. Aaron Shaw was afterwards several times Circuit Judge, and also a member of Congress. He was born In New York In 1811. and died some years since in Olney.
Wabash, the next township to be settled, had as first arrivals the Black family, which came In 1816. They came from Indiana, though originally from Kentucky. Mr. Black had five sons, John, William, James, Joseph and Thomas, and all were men of energy and influence. Richard Armstrong came with the Blacks. In 1816 came also the Perrys, Kuykendalls and the Cowens. The Perrys were from Ohio, the Kuykendalls from Kentucky, though they came here from Vlncennes. Hugh Henderson and Jesse Esery came in 1817 and the former built the first mill in Wabash Township. It was of the tread wheel variety. James McCabe came from Tennessee about this time and was one of the first Methodist preachers to appear in that part of the county. Harry Shackton, one Sheets—who kept a ferry—Thomas Thompson and James Cox came in 1819, and also Jonathan Wiley, a great hunter of bees. Jonathan Hicklin, also a great hunter, a friend and acquaintance of Daniel Boone, and a spy in the Indian wars of Kentucky, was an early arrival who always had plenty of money and was supposed to be connected with a band of counterfeiters. He died at the age of 106 years, the oldest person Clark County ever knew. James Lovelace, Samuel Elam and the Taylor, Ashmore and Groves families came in 1822. Following them were Abraham Washburn, the herb doctor, and William Wood, the devout Presbyterian. The Plasters, McGregor, Dunlap, West, Hutchinson and Rhodes families arrived in the early 'thirties, and from that on, the National Road being under way, the settlers flocked in increasing numbers to Wabash Township. In 1832 a man named Durrell built a water mill as a rival to the Henderson tread mill, before mentioned. A saw mill was added some time later to the Durrell water mill, and then came Horace Richie, who built a steam and grist mill two miles east of Livingston. Mr. Richie sold out to one Welsh, and he in turn to Rufus Neal. The first public road to be laid out, or viewed out, was the work of David Wyrick, Henry Taylor and Stephen Archer, and was called the "Darwin Road." In 1820 the Terre Haute Road was viewed out through the south part of the township by W. B. Woods. Goldberry and Dunlap. The National Road ran through the county In a southeasterly direction, and of course through Wabash Township. Livingston was laid out by Robert Ferguson, and David Wyrick built a tavern there in 1833, the first in the township. A little later James Twilley built another tavern.
Melrose Township had as its first settler Joseph Willard, who came from North Carolina In 1816. The next year came James Bartlett and several other families from New York. Stephen Handy, who came from York Township about this time, was the first Justice of the Peace of the township, and was also Surveyor of Clark County. In 1823 came Benjamine Dolson from New York; John Morecraft came in 1827, and in 1828 arrived Jonathan Metsker, from Kentucky, and, Benjamine Ogden, Benjamine Long, Joseph Evans and others. The Coopers arrived in 1831, Nathan Wells and Peter Dosher in 1832, and Isaac Weldon in 1836. Wolves and deer, as well as other wild animals indigenous to that locality, were there In large numbers, and hunting was not only a pastime but a necessity. Levi Wells. William Maxwell and William Maples were noted hunters of their day. Lewis Huckaby put up the first mill, and Jacob Shelter built a saw mill on Raccoon Creek, and also made brick when the water was too low to run his mill. Benjamine Ogden was a blacksmith, Metsker a wagon and plow maker, and Armitage Kinderdine a carpenter, and all of them found plenty of work in their several lines of usefulness. Nathan Wells and Susan Willard were the first couple to marry* and Samuel Ogden and Martha Morgan the second. Melrose was platted in 1847, the land belonging to Nathan Wells, Joseph Edwards and Samuel Keline. John Gwinn put in the first store in 1847, and one Sibley put up a $4.000 mill in 1868.
Dolson Township was settled as early as 1828 by John Duke, William Rogers and William Smith. David and Isaac Murrey arrived in 1830. and Isaac erected a rude carding mill some time afterward. A small horse mill was built in the township as early as 1838. and Christian Clapp built a water mill on Mill Creek in 1840.
Clarksville was laid out by George Lee in 1851, the surveying being done by James Lawrence. County Surveyor. The Doughtys, Harrisons, Haslltts. Elleges, Rogers, Bartmess, Heath. Lees, Fitzgeralds, Boyers. Coons, Welsh and Claypools were among the early settlers of Dolson Township.
Martinsville Township was occupied first in 1829 by John Chancellor, and Amos Potts reached there from Ohio in 1830. The Weisner, Chriss and Scholfield families came In a little later. Thomas Scholfield, father of the late Judge John Scholfield. came to Melrose Township from Ohio in 1828, and moved to Martinsville Township In 1832. He went to Oregon in 1856. Joseph Martin laid out Martinsville Township in 1832.
Anderson Township was settled by Joseph Archer about 1830. In 1832 came John Birch, lather of Robert Birch and Timothy Birch, the former of whom was the most noted outlaw of the county. He was a leading member of the Fox Long Birch gang of cutthroats, robbers, horse thieves and murderers that so long infested Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Indiana, and who murdered old Colonel Davenport near Rock Island, July 4. 1845. The gang is fully described in the "Banditti of the Prairies," a book published by Edward Donney, the detective, who, assuming to be in sympathy with the gang, landed some of them in prison, caused others to be hanged, and finally broke up and dispersed the others. It was the publication of this book that caused the whipping in Anderson Township of Davis Phillips, his son, Thomas Phillips, and others. A feature of the book is a conversation between Bonney and old John Birch, called the "Old Coon," in which Birch stated that the "Clerk of the Court" at Marshall was his friend, and always gave him advance information of any trouble that was threatened him or any member of the gang by the authorities. The "Old Coon" did not name the Clerk, but suspicion fell at once on Phillips, and so he and his son Tom, who were out with a posse that was scouring the woods for the gang in the neighborhood of the Birch cabin, in Anderson Township, were seized upon, tied to trees and unmercifully whipped. There was no evidence against the Phillips, except the bare statement of old John Long, and few people in Marshall who were here then and conversant with all the facts in the case, believe that either Darius Phillips or his son Tom were guilty, and the whipping of them Is now regarded as an outrage. Phillips then lived in the house now kept by Mrs. Falley as a boarding bouse on West Main street, and when seen there soon after by Homer Quick an4 others his back was in a badly lacerated condition, his son Tom being in the same condition. Phillips resigned his office and he and his family went West, never to return. Two of his sons, including Tom, have been back once each, but did not make their presence generally known. It Is thought they may have been looking for some of those who committed the outrage upon the father and brother, with the intention of getting even with them, as this was expected by a good many people for years after the Phillips family left It Is noted that the former history of Clark County, published in 1883 by O. L. Baskin ft Co., intimates that Bonney, the detective, had been himself a counterfeiter, and was himself a criminal, but this intimation is, we think, refuted by the result of his trial, on the charge of counterfeiting, wherein he was acquitted in the United States Court at Springfield, 111., at the December term, 1846. Besides, ten of the jurymen who tried Bonney signed a statement addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury, In which they completely exonerated him. Moreover, on January 6,1847, Governor Thomas Ford, of Illinois, gave to the public and to Bonney a certificate in which he states that he was present at the trial, heard the evidence, fully concurs in the statement of exoneration and innocence published by the jury, and believes that he was innocent, and further that the Indictment for counterfeiting against Bonney was procured by perjury and in an attempt to get even with him for his pursuit and punishment of the Fox Long Birch gang. Surely these statements, by men most competent to judge of the guilt or Innocence of the accused, should settle the matter for all time. Bonney had to pretend to be a member of the gang, and to take some little unimportant action in their rascalities in order to obtain and hold their confidence until he could apprehend them.
The settlement of Orange Township began with the arrival of Newton Howerton and Moses Engle about 1836. Enock Thompson came In 1837, and in 1838 came the Harrisons, Canady, Maples. Foster and Rubottom families. Maples was a gambler and a desperado, committed many acts of lawlessness and finally sold out to John S. Hicks and left the county with another man's wife. In 1840 came the Malone. Beaucbamps and Bennett families, and soon after the Hix, Prindle and Elliotts. The first marriage in the township was that of John Hix and Olive Blakeman in 1840. and Francis Hardway, the son of Andrew and Margaret Hardway. was the first person born there. Robert and Thomas Bailiff, father and son, both Cumberland Presbyterians, were among the first and best known and best beloved preachers, and T. C. Bailiff, a grandson of Robert and a son of Thomas, still keeps up the good work there
John Burris was the first actual settler of Johnson Township, arriving in 1833, and the same year came a man by the name of Ingraham. Daniel Doughty, a Baptist preacher, came in 1836, and Jacob Janney came in 1837. The Alexander Mount and Megeath families also came in 1836. James Mount was the first Justice of the Peace of Johnson Township. In 1836 came also the Crouch, Davee, Hilburn and Owings families. Dr. Henry King, afterwards a noted physician of Illinois and Oregon, was also one of the early settlers of Johnson Township, as were also James Henderson and Hawley Chllds. David Ingraham was killed about 1837, and his was the first death to occur in the township. John Burris, the son of John and Elizabeth Burris, was the first child to be born there, in 1836, and in 1838 occurred the first marriage, that of Amos Carlan and Amanda Brewster. George Janney and Eliza Williamson, and Joseph Howe and Letty Foster soon followed their good example. William Blundell was preaching there as early as 1838.
Parker Township's first settler was Hezeriah Martin, who arrived in 1827, and In 1828 came George Parker, after whom the township was named John G. Morrell came In 1830, Lewis Walker came In 1831, and in 1832 came Morris Carruthers, Thomas Lamb, David Easton and Stanley B. Walker, the latter an Old School Baptist preacher. In 1833 came William Lee, John Johnson and Calvin Boyd, the latter of whom ran for the Legislature but was defeated. Isaac Bean and L. D. Robinson were also early arrivals, and the latter was a brother of the famous James C. Robinson, who was a Clark County and Springfield lawyer, member of Congress, candidate for Governor, a noted campaign speaker, and one of the brainiest men in Clark County. The Connellys, Houghtons, Hammonds and Barbees also came early, and their descendants are a controlling force in business and politics at the present time.
The settlement of Auburn Township was begun when Jonathan Rathbone arrived in 1832. He was soon followed by Ralph Hasten, Orndorff, Robert Downs, John Fredenberger, Samuel Williams and others. Nicholas Hurst, a prominent early settler of Auburn, was Sheriff, Associate Judge and County Treasurer. He was the father of Seymour Hurst, of Marshall, who is Chairman of the County Democratic Committee, has been Postmaster of Marshall, and a candidate for State Senator. He is now a candidate for the lower branch of the Illinois Legislature. He is a fine business man, a leader in his party, and one of the most prominent and useful citizens of Clark County. Archibald Stack was also an early settler of Auburn, was once quite wealthy in land, but became involved in a lawsuit with James C. Hillebert and suffered heavy losses, as did nearly all who became Involved in lawsuits with that keen, pugnacious, enterprising, wide awake early settler of Clark County.
The town of Auburn, In a comparatively early day, was the scene of the notorious and longtalkedof personal encounter between John Welsh and John Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons was a noted fighter, and had conquered every man up to the time he met John Welsh. Mr. Welsh was a peaceable man in the main, but was of giant strength, desperate courage and fierce temper. The fight occurred at a great barbecue, and Welsh was one of the managers, and had charge of the tables. Fitzsimmons was drinking some, and as usual spoiling for a fight In the good old days In Clark County men fought only with the weapons nature had given them. The revolver was unknown, the slingshot and brass or steel knuckles, were unheard of, clubs, stones and knives un-thought of as they are today, and therefore encounters rarely resulted in anything more fatal than broken noses, blackened eyes, loss of teeth, and sometimes a few broken bones. Fights were fair, neither was allowed any help, and they continued until one of the contestants said he had enough. After the fight was over that was generally the end of It, and the persons thus engaged in fistic encounters were usually later the best of friends. In the good old scrapping days Ham Daniels, Steve Pritchard and Jim Fears, of York; John Welsh, John Fitzsimmons, Kelse Shaffner, John Williams, who was shot and killed at Nelse Shaffner's house by Bill Haddix, a Deputy Sheriff of Clark County, there were no deadly weapons used, and no help given to either man, but the best man was allowed to win. At the Auburn barbecue Fitzsimmons became unruly, boisterous and threatening, and finally struck John Welsh, who had tried to quiet him. Soon one of the hardest, most desperate and long continued fistic encounters ever fought in Clark County was on. Both men were giants in physical strength, had desperate courage and both were in the prime of young and vigorous manhood. Welsh finally whipped Fitzsimmons, and it was the last fight he ever had. He never recovered fully from the effects of the mauling he had received from Welsh, but the men afterwards became friends as they had been before. When Fitzsimmons was on his deathbed he told Welsh, who had called to see his old antagonist, that he was dying from the effects of their Auburn fight, but that he himself was the aggressor and did not blame him. The killing of Williams by Haddick, while justified in law, as Haddix was a Deputy Sheriff, and, in company with Jack Harlow, another Deputy Sheriff, was trying to serve a warrant on Williams, who ran out of the back door of Shaffner's house, where Haddlz was standing, and refusing to halt when called upon to do so, was shot by Haddix as he ran along Shaffner's garden fence, the ball striking him squarely at the base of the brain, killing him instantly. Haddix nearly lost his mind through remorse over the killing, and he never recovered from the effects. It was at the Coroner's inquest over the body of Williams, at Shaffner's house, that Dr. George Center, then a practicing physician of Clark County, exhibited one of his usual but cruel freaks as a surgeon. He was a vivisectionist of the most merciless and radical type, and was wont to Indulge in the Intellectual pastime of nailing the four feet of cats and other small animals to boards, and while stretched out on their backs, alive, in a helpless position, would coolly and deliberately cut away the hide, muscles and tendons in the regions of the heart, stomach, lungs and other Internal organs, until he could, through the thin covering of these organs, or with no covering whatever, note the heart beats, the circulation of the blood, the action of air in the lungs, and the digestion of food in the stomach. He kept at this merciless business while at Marshall until the practice became so unbearable to Its people that he was obliged to desist. At the Williams inquest Center called upon Mr. Shaffner to get him a saw to saw into the head of the deceased in order to locate the bullet that had killed him. Shaffner refused, arid he then tried to get some one to get him an axe so that he might chop Into the skulL This so enraged those present that they peremptorily and threateningly forbade Center to go any farther In his Investigation. He afterwards moved to EvansvlUe, Ind., where he became a demonstrator of anatomy In a medical college there, and was quite successful. While here he came near being shot on several occasions on account of his brutality or imagined brutality to patients in his capacity as a surgeon. Among the early settlers of Douglas Township may be mentioned the Ashmores, Forsytes. Davis, Galbraith and Lycan families. In 1853 occurred the murder of Robert Ashmore by William Forsythe. Both men were Kentuckians and the best of friends until Forsythe lost a valuable calf and accused Ashmore of stealing it. Ashmore sued Forsythe for slander, whereupon Forsythe swore vengeance and declared he would kill him if he did not withdraw the suit. Ashmore refused to do this, but went on with his preparations for the trial. On the morning court was to convene, Ashmore, while in the act of saddling his horse, was shot from ambush and instantly killed. Forsythe was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to be hanged, but the Governor commuted his sentence to a lite term in the penitentiary. He became afflicted with a terrible cancer of the face while in the penitentiary, and after serving eight years was released and came home to die the same year. This was one of the most noted murder cases ever tried in Clark County, was the talk of the county for years, and is still talked of by those who remember the murder and the incidents that followed it. Douglas Township contains a large Irish Catholic population, and they are among the most industrious, thrifty, well-behaved people of the county. Castle Finn Is the only town, or rather hamlet, for it has no town or village organization.
The first settlement of Casey began with the construction of the National Road through the county, and the first permanent resident was John Doughty, who located near the present site of Cumberland, east of the city of Casey proper, in 1833. In 1834 came Silas Whitehead, the father of Silas S. Whitehead, and in 1835 Joshua Chancellor. The latter had formerly lived in Martinsville Township, having located in 1829. In 1835 arrived James O. Hedges and his son. James V. Hedges, and in 1836 came Asa W. Dolson, Thomas Scholfield, Henry Bromwell, the Chisms, John and William, Addison Barbour, William Shook, William Sullivan and Levi Mumford. They were followed in 1837 by Dixon Cobb, a violent, hotheaded, prejudiced, unreasonable fellow, who had a good deal of trouble with his neighbors. Cobb finally accused William Shook of stealing hogs and upon being sued for slander was found guilty and left the county. He went to Vincennes, where subsequently his son. Thomas R. Cobb, was elected a member of Congress. The village of Casey was incorporated in 1871.
James Shaw, one of the first settlers of Westfield Township, arrived in 1829, the same year as Daniel Evinger, Absalom Kester and Thomas Frazier. In 1830 came Esau Morris, William Comstock, James Jones, David Bennett and others. Bennett was killed by falling from his horse In 1834, and his was the first death that occurred in the township. William Goodman. George Goodman, Henry Randall, Elijah Stark and James Bell came there in 1831. Bell was a man of education and a fine violinist. The Lowrys, Eastons, Biggs. Macks, Brookes, Barbees and Joseph Briscoe came in 1832. Henry Briscoe came in 1835 and soon after Coleman Dun. In 1838 William Lee erected the first saw mill in the township. It was an ox tread-wheel mill, but did good service until it was abandoned in 1848.
Clark County has had its share of distressing homicides, but it has never had a banging or lynching. Darwin has had its killing of James Oxendine by Frank Jeffers, for which he was acquitted; and Albert Hall, one of the most peaceable and well liked men in that township, had tfie misfortune some years ago to shoot and kill John Wells, whom he early in the morning mistook for a turkey while hunting for turkey in the elbow brush west of Darwin. It was a distressing mistake, for which Hall was in no wise blameable, but it has grieved and troubled him incessantly since that time. The killing of Dr. Duncan, In Marshall, by Hamilton Eaton, as well as that of Mack Morton by his wife in Marshall; also that of Trenck Towsley by Richard Myles, in Darwin, created intense excitement and no little bad feeling in their respective localities at the times of their commission, but those who had the misfortune to do the killing were all tried and acquitted —Jeffers and Eaton on the plea of selfdefense; the wife of Morton on the plea of insanity, and Myles. by virtue of the "unwritten law." which rarely allows a man to be convicted where the killing is done in defense of the honor of his home and family. The trial and acquittal of the wife of Burns Dixon, also of Darwin, on an indictment charging her with the crime of poisoning her husband, and her acquittal, created great dissatisfaction In the county. She was ably defended by James W. Graham, while John Scholfield defended Hamilton Eaton. Thomas J. Golden defended Richard Myles. and Golden, Scholfield R. Booth defended the slayer of Mack Morton. The killing of "General" Craig, In Anderson Township, by young Paul Sweet, also created great excitement. Craig was an influential man in his neighborhood, and his death was the result of ill feeling over a woman who was a domestic in Craig's housebold. Sweet was defended by Golden and W. A. Wilkin, and though vigorously prosecuted by attorneys employed by the brother of Craig, he was acquitted. CTark County has been the scene, fortunately, of but few of the more loathsome. Indecent and unnatural kind of crimes, and the mob spirit has never, be it said to her honor, manifested itself in the county. The people, no matter what the offenses against the criminal status have been, have always manifested a willingness to allow the law to take its course. Among the noted doctors of Marshall. Martinsville. Casey and Weitfleld Townships who have practiced In the county during comparative recent years, we desire to mention Dr. Fleming Rice Payne, Dr. F. H. Jennings and Dr. J. ML Janes, of Marshall; Dr. W. H. McNary and Dr. Gard. of Martinsville; Dr. Richard Williams, of Casey, and Dr. James Parcel, of Westfield. These men all stood high in their profession, and their respective deaths were a distinct loss to the medical fraternity of Clark County. No stronger, abler physicians, or men of finer common sense, have ever lived and practiced in Clark County that Drs. Payne. McNary. Williams and Parcel, and we wish to bear especial tribute to their memories, both as doctors and as men.
Dr. Tom Williams, the worthy son of an honored father, is an intelligent, progressive physician of Casey at this time, enjoys a fine practice, has the confidence of his people, and is well liked by all who know him, both as a physician and man. Among the older and more prominent physicians of Clark County in active practice at this time we wish to make honorable mention of Dr. Robert H. Bradley, Dr. G. W. Prewett, Dr. H. W. Haslit, Dr. E. M. Duncan and Dr. Edward Pearce, of Marshall, and Dr. W. W. Bruce, of Casey. These men are all old practitioners in Clark County, and have the confidence and esteem of all who know them, not only as physicians but as citizens and men. There are other bright and up-to-date physicians in the county of less years of practice, among them Dr. John Weir, of West Union; Drs. L. C. Weir, P. P. Haslit, J.J. Rose and J. W. Smith, of Marshall; Drs. Phelps, Wilkin and Wilhite, of Martinsville, and Dr. Phelps, of Casey, and others. These are sufficient to show that Clark County is not behind her sister counties in good doctors, but maintains in that regard, as she has always done in the past, a high standard of professional ability and standing among her professional men of the medical fraternity. The dental profession is also ably represented in the county by Drs. W. R. Turman and J. B. Taylor, of Marshall, and by W. Kelly, of Martinsville, and others.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and Clark County edited by Hon. H.C. Bell 1907
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