Illinois Genealogy Trails History Group

Clark County Illinois
Genealogy and History


Chapter 19
Melrose Township


The History of Crawford and Clark County
W. H. Perrin, O. L. Baskin & Co., 1883

Transcribed by Kevin Ortman

[Melrose Township starts on pg 439]

"TOWNSHIPS, like children, are often found convenient objects to which associate the names of cherished friends or the recollections of earlier homes. The early emigrant casting off from the scenes that blessed childhood and going into surroundings that almost blot out the remembrance of brighter scenes, perpetuates the scenes of his early years as an anchor that still holds him fast to his native land though stress of circumstances may lengthen the cable indefinitely. So long as the name remains, the cable is not parted. It is probable on this principle that the township, to which this chapter is devoted, bears the euphonious name of the old English village. Melrose lies in the lower tier of townships in Clark County and is the second from the Wabash River.

[omitted text]. . .

The early settlement of this county came in from the east, and it was not until the more attractive lands along the Wabash, in York township, were occupied that the inflow of population invaded this section. Reuben Crow, a resident of York, made an entry on section 36, as early as 1816, but beyond giving his name to the prairie here, made no improvement and never was a resident of the township. The first actual settler, Joseph Willard, came here about the same time and settled on the same section. He was a native of North Carolina, and made the journey from his native State with an ox-cart. In the following year the township settlement received several accessions. Among these was James Bartlett, a native of New York, who came by raft to Cincinnati and from thence by wagon. He was an energetic man and soon became a prominent citizen in the new community which grew up here. He died in 1872, and was at that time the oldest of Masonic fraternity in the county. Stephen Handy, who came into York with his father in 1814, in this year made a start for himself and entered land on section 13. He was the first justice in the township, and subsequently was elected as county surveyor. William Martin was another addition to the Melrose settlement in 1817. He was a native of New York, a cabinet maker by trade, and came by the river forcing his way on a keel boat. In 1823, John Moorcraft came and settled on section 11. He was a native of New York; a man of some wealth who had met financial embarrassment and came to this new country with the hopes of retrieving his fortune. He was a man of good parts, gained prominence in the community, and was influential in forming its character. In this year also came Benjamin Dolson, from whom the prairie and one of the northern townships of the county was named. Mr. Dolson was a marked character in the early community, and won a regard that will perpetuate his memory. He was born in St. Lawrence County, New York, and spent his childhood and youth under rugged influences of a pioneer community. ...

* To be continued.**


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