HISTORY OF DOUGLAS COUNTY, IL
F.A. BATTEY & CO., PUBLISHERS, 1884.
BY H.C. NILES
REPRODUCED FROM THE ORIGINALS AND CONTRIBUTED
LARRY M. BURMEISTER,
“—— every round in the ladder of fame
Belongs to the foot that gets on it.”
GARRETT is named in honor of Isam Garrett. Before township organization, the area, as an election precinct, was much smaller than at present. It was bounded on the east by the Okaw River, and on the south by the Congressional township line, containing only about thirty square miles. There were added about twenty more when the townships were made, and the east line was extended to the range or township line on the east, and to the south part was added two tiers of sections off the north end of the Congressional township on the south. As now constituted, it is bounded on the north and on the west by the county line, on the south by the township of Bourbon, and on the east by Tuscola, and consists of all of Township 16 north, of Range 7 east, of the Third Principal Meridian, and Sections 1 to 12 inclusive, of Township 15 north, of Range 7 east, the total area in square miles being 51 83/100, the same being according to the United States Government survey 33,171 95/100 acres.
This is the shape it received upon the adoption of township organization in 1868, a particular account of which is given elsewhere in this volume. A section of land is usually estimated to contain 640 acres, which is indeed the average, the exceptions being the fractional sections, occurring on the north and west sides of all townships surveyed by the Government. The north tier of sections in Township 15 north, Range 7 east, in Garrett, one to six inclusive, are all over 1,000 acres in area, and Section 6, Township 15, Range 7, mostly owned by James Drew, is the largest Government section of land in the county, containing 1,148.21 acres; it is over one and one-half
miles in north and south length, and considerably over one mile in east and west measure.
The Government Surveyors were instructed to make all townships of thirty-six sections to contain as near as may be, 23,040 acres, that is to say, to be six miles square and include thirty-six sections. Township 16 north, Range 7 east, is the only Congressional township in the county which “fills the bill,” the area, according to Government survey, being exactly the proposed area in gross. It does not follow that each section is exactly 640 acres.
TOPOGRAPHY, DRAINAGE, ETC.
The Kaskaskia River traverses the east tier of sections in this subdivision of the county, and, being here near the very source of this river, which rises in Champaign County, depends upon the rainfall for its waters. It is therefore about dry in the summer months, while immediately after heavy rains, it comes up in a hurry, and becomes a rapid stream of a width of from four to six rods, and in the north part, getting out of the banks, has an indefinite extent. The sudden rise of this and other streams in the county is owing materially to the improved system of farm drainage, which of late years has so much obtain. Every man who ditches his land at all in this region is contributing to the waters of the Okaw, the capacity of which to carry off the accumulated waters is comparatively less than of old, which naturally suggests improvement, and it is only a question of time when the improvement of our main streams will be considered the one thing needful in the proper drainage of the farms of the county. A water course known as Dry Fork runs through the middle of the township in a north and south direction, and, falling into the Okaw at the south line of the township, is an important carrier for the prairie lands to the north. Lake Fork, which is born in Piatt County, comes into Garrett half a mile south of the village of Atwood, and is a contributor to the Okaw in Bourbon Township; like all prairie water courses, it is wet and dry by turns and nothing long.
The Drainage Commissions this township have, on petition of interested parties, established a large drainage district, under the statute, which is situated in the southwest part, contains about 3,200 acres and the drains were constructed at an expense of about $2,800. These consist of large open
ditches, which are by law under the control of the Highway Commissioners, whose duty it is to keep them in repair from year to year, the same as roads, the expense of which is met by a tax levied upon the land owners in the district, for the benefit of whom the original district was organized. The ditches will average sixteen feet in width, the cost of construction being about $1 per lineal rod. C.G. Eckart is the attorney for the Commissioners, who also employed H.C. Niles as surveyor and engineer. The work was regularly staked out railroad fashion, and the elevations taken. These drains are exceedingly popular in their inception, very much the contrary when the tax is made known and collected, and the pride and boast of the people when completed.
The highest point in Garrett Township is, probably, near the southeast corner on the “Gruelle” farm, which place, by actual measure, is thirty feet higher than Tuscola; the bottom of the Okaw, near this point, is thirty-five feet lower than this point, which is a “divide” near the line of Tuscola and this township.
The great body of timber in Garrett is on the south side, but the Okaw in its entire length is fringed, as it were, with woods which, in the upper part, will average a mile wide. This varies, as, between Sections 12 and 13 in the northeast corner, there is what has been generally called the “cut-off,” which is, as it were, a break in the timber, long known to old settlers. On the west side, and in the neighborhood of Lake Fork, many small but attractive natural groves occur, notably on the lands of Nathan Garrett and others; and in the heart of the woods, near the south center of the township, a large “grade” occurs; the original surveyors called it a “draught.” Goodson’s Grove is situated at the northeast corner of Section 33, Township 16, Range 7, and is a nice little piece of woods. All of these glades, cut-offs and groves, were duly noted and mapped by the original surveyors, who did their Government surveying in this region in 1821.
Bowlder of granite or other rock are rarely found of any great dimensions; in many parts of the county, whether prairie or timber, they are unknown, while in other sections there are enough of small bulk, weighing from 100 to 500 pounds, to obstruct to some extent the tilling of the soil; but these are few. The largest granite rock in the county, visible above the soil,
is in the southeast corner of Section 28, Township 16, Range 7, upon the farm of Judge Mullet, in this township. It stands above the ground about twelve feet, and is about as much in thickness. All of these surface rocks have been rounded by the action of water, and have evidently been transported by natural agencies from their natural beds. A glacier, for instance, ages ago, was started from the Arctics as a frozen river of ice, bearing upon its bed tons of rock, which it deposited as it melted in the summer heat of the then temperate zone. An extensive ledge of limestone, which makes good lime, as proven by actual business, occurs in Sargent Township (q.v.).
The St. Louis Branch of the I., B. & W. Railway, first called the Indianapolis & Decatur, afterward the Indiana & Illinois Central, and next the Indianapolis, Decatur & Springfield, traverses this township from east to west along the middle line of the south tier of sections, in Township 16 north, Range 7 east, and is a straight line through this township. It was completed here in 1872. The township voted to aid to this road by subscribing to the stock to the amount of $13,000, bearing 10 per cent interest, payable in fourteen years. These bonds were refunded in June, 1880, being paid off and replaced with F.N. Tracy, of Springfield, Ill., who paid a premium of 3 1/2 per cent. The new bonds bear 6 per cent interest, and the matter was negotiated by Charles G. Eckhart, Esq. of Tuscola. The lowest bid was the even money, $13,000. There were several instances where the road was constructed across lands without previously securing the right of way, and several suits arose in consequence.
A BRIDGE BURNED.
A Howe Truss Bridge over the Okaw, west side, Section 36, Township 16, Range 7, half a mile west of Howe Station, was maliciously burned on the night of July 3, 1873, and as a Fourth of July excursion was on the tapis for next day, it is difficult to imagine the state of mind of the fellow who did it. By withholding his name, he has lost the distinction of being Douglas County’s greatest scoundrel.
Among the first entries of land in Garrett Township, we find that Jacob Lease, in December, 1884, entered the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 16, Range 7; and in 1885, in June, J. G. Devault took the southeast quarter of Section 13, Township 16, Range 7. L. F. Lewis entered the northeast quarter of Section 12, Township 16, Range 7, in 1886; and June 16, 1849, Benjamin Ellars located and patented the west half of Lot 1, northeast quarter of Section 2, Township 16, Range 7, and other lands. Josiah Hoots owned a large body of land in the northeast corner of the township. He was an ancient settler of prominence and influence. He died in October, 1876, in the fifty-eighth year of his age. He was a native of Salem, N.C., removed to Indiana at the age of seven, and subsequently to this neighborhood, of which he was a useful citizen for about thirtyeight years. He was buried Masonically, at Cartright Chapel, three miles west of Tuscola, by Tuscola Lodge, No. 332, of which he was an ancient and honored member.
According to legendary report, Lemuel Randall entered, March 16, 1850, the four forties lying around the center of Section 34, Township 16, Range 7. Thomas Goodson was with Randall, and knowing the numbers of the land, got the patent for him. This entry was made before the railroad had selected its lands, but, under a mistake, the railroad temporarily got these. Meanwhile, Randall had sold to Nathan Drake, who had transferred to D. Manis. Drake had taken the precaution of re-entering the tracts, having had intimation of the error. The books at the office still showed it to be railroad land, and finally the land entry book of the county shows that the land was really and finally entered by J. W. L. Slavens, February 22, 1865. This is, then, the very last entry of Government lands in Douglas County. In short, the railroad never had acquired the tracts, and they were left open to have the distinction of being the last entries. The sixteenth section in Township 16 north, Range 7 east, reserved for schools, the title to which is derived from the State, was taken up in 1854, having been divided into eight lots by the surveyor, containing seventyeight to seventy-nine acres each, Lot 1 being the east half of the northwest quarter. J. L. Jordan took two, Harvey Otter one, E. T. Romine two, J. C. Wyche two, etc.
Isam Garrett, in compliment to whom the township was named, lived to the advanced age of eighty-two years. He died February 14, 1880. It is the popular opinion that Mr. Garrett never used tobacco or drank spirits, never served on a jury, never was a witness in court, never sued and never was sued, and that he never told a lie in his life. He was an educated free-thinker, and held that life is a terrific problem; that we are placed upon this earth without being consulted, and removed without our consent; and that the golden rule was the only guide; and to “do good and throw it into the sea; if the fishes don’t know it, God will.”
Dr. Thomas Parsons, of this township, was a noted hunter and marksman, and now, at the advanced age of eighty-three, shows with pride some thirty targets which he has preserved for many years, representing his victories. These are about two inches in diameter, and show the size of a rifle ball, repeated to any extent and cutting into each other at all edges. The Doctor was once the preceptor of Caleb Garrett, at Terre Haute, as a carpenter and builder. He is in easy circumstances and of remarkably cheerful and sunny disposition, and has been heard to speak of his arrangements to meet the great leveler, with calm and philosohical indifference, and is apparently ready at any moment to “wrap the drapery of his couch around him and lie down to pleasant dreams.”
Mr. Caleb Garrett, son of Isam, represented the county of Vigo in Indiana in 1842, and was re-elected at the age of twenty-one. He settled in Douglas County in 1847, served on the first grand jury, was Justice of the Peace in 1854, and for some years after. He was also first Supervisor of Garrett Township. He first bought land in the west part of the township, subsequently accumulated other and larger tracts, and in May, 1865, sold out and transferred his farming interests to Tuscola Township by purchase. Harvey Otter, James Drew, Jacob Mosbarger, Dr. D. A. Meeker, William Howe, the present largest land owner (1,200 acres), and William Ellars, were of the early settlers. Howe arrived in the present bounds of Douglas County in 1838. He went to California in 1850, and returned in 1853; he is one of the largest land owners in the township; was elected
Supervisor of the township in 1876, and again in 1883, and in 1884. William Ellars’ family came from Ohio, and settled in the Okaw timber near the north line, in 1849, at which time there was not a settler on the prairie to the west.
Joseph Moore, or, to put it more exactly, “Old Joe Moore,” arrived in the present bounds of Douglas County in 1832. He is the repository of all the jokes, good, bad and indifferent, illustrative of the manners and customs of the earlier days; he still lives at a hearty old age, and he, in the west end, who knows him not, argues himself unknown.
Thomas Goodson entered the north half of the southwest quarter of Section 27, Township 16, Range 7, July 9, 1850, and other lands; he continued a resident until lately, when he died, leaving numerous descendants, and a large estate. Goodson was a great hunter; he once killed two deer with a single ball, on what is now the farm of William Brian in the northeast part of the township; he assisted in the extermination of the very last family of wild cats found in the Okaw timber. He relates that he cut a large tree for rail timber in the exact spot where he had cut a similar one thirty-six years before! Notwithstanding the large quantities of timber used building, fuel and fencing in the early days, the question whether the timber is holding its own or not is an open one. It is a noteworthy fact, in this connection, and without the slightest intention of reflecting upon any old settler, it may be stated, that the timber belonging to the lands of actual settlers remained in good condition much longer than that of the Government, it being understood that all settlers had a kind of right to use Government timber; the timber lands of non-residents, which were called speculators’ lands, were included under the same head, and some of the earlier debating societies had up the question, whether the owners of such lands had any rights which anybody was bound to respect, and being decided in the negative, “bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke.”
John Lester and his sons, Samuel and Sigler H., were of the first comers. Samuel Lester entered his first land in Section 1, Township 15, Range 7, in 1835, and up to 1838 had entered all the north half of the section, 800 acres. Sigler H. entered in April, 1836, the west half of the northeast quarter, Section 25, Township 16, Range 7, and subsequently other lands. These sons died a few years ago (Samuel in 1860), (Sigler in 1864), leaving
large estates to numerous descendants, which lands, however, by either mischance or choice, have passed out of the hands of the families.
The Lesters were men of great natural force and decision of character, and like most other people, were great hunters. Goodson related that John Lester once cut a large bee tree, and converting it into a gum stood it up on end full of honey, and covered it with a slab, leaving it for a more convenient season. Goodson had just killed three deer, and finding the gum ready to his hand, filled it up with tallow, and did this to save it from the ravens, for at that time ravens were plenty; they were larger than the common crow, and are since extinct here. Lester, returning and finding tallow in the place of his honey, could not understand how anybody would rob him of his honey and leave tallow in exchange, the latter being much more valuable.
F. C. Mullen entered his first land in Section 28, Township 16, Range 7, in 1850. He came from Delaware, and was the second County Judge of the new county of Douglas. About these days Judge Mullen was traveling toward his home from Vandalia, where he had been entering land, and upon reaching Sullivan, in Moultrie County, his traveling companion suggested that they should go at once to the tavern and take a drink. Mullen preferred to first take care of the horses, and did so, which made some delay; they then proceeded toward the tavern, and learned that William Campbell, an old resident of this township, had been robbed of $150 in gold; that every man in the saloon had been searched and the money not found. It is somewhat interesting to speculate as to what might have been the consequences to the Judge on this occasion, if he had not been fortunately delayed, for he had just arrived a perfect stranger, and had on his person in gold precisely the amount they were looking for.
Hunting at the proper season occupied the attention of the early settlers considerably, and a principal part of the living was venison; this, with the natural love of the sport born in and with the more enterprising and vigorous of the settlers, made the pursuit a favorite. Isaac L. Jordan and his
brother “Wash,” Caleb and Nathan Garrett, Thomas Goodson and the Lesters, were enthusiastic hunters. The Garretts and Jordans had amongst them about twenty-five hounds who ran by scent. In 1853, whilst on a wolf hunt, Jordan and Garrett had followed the trail from their neighborhood to the present site of Tuscola, eight miles, and the peculiar action of a favorite hound attracting the attention of Jordan, he, with his experience and natural instinctiveness, immediately called the dogs off the trail of the wolf, though it had been getting warm, and began cautiously to explore for deer, the nobler game. In a few moments, in the low ground, just about where the Illinois Central Railroad Depot now stands in Tuscola, he raised the largest buck ever seen in their experience. The buck started off southwest, and was run down and killed by the dogs in the Gruelle farm, four miles southwest.
On another occasion, an intelligent hound compelled the attention of Garrett, and conducted him to a place where the dogs had killed a deer, which they had chased of their own motion. The dogs, after running down, would kill a deer and eat till satisfied, and the only trophies secured in this first case was the head, horns and a foot, as the relic of the “biggest buck.” In this flat country there was almost no vantage-ground for the deer; he ran till he could run no more, and was too much exhausted to fight. A “stag at bay” was rare, and to be in at the death took rapid riding and good shooting; the horses enjoyed the sport and learned to run by sight.
Many persons remember the reception these hounds gave every visitor to the various farms. He would ride up to the house, and if he passed along, all right, but if he stopped and gave the customary “hello!” ten or a dozen hounds rushed toward him with an open mouthed deep baying salute that would make the hair of a timid man “stand on end,” but all he had to do to restore perfect peace, was to “light.” It was only a bay of welcome, and a notice to the family that perhaps a wayfarer wanted his supper and a bed.
Mr. I. L. Jordan of this township informs that in the case of lynching of “Dolph” Monroe, of Coles County, in 1854, the entire jury was selected
from the present area of Douglas County. He shot and killed his fatherin-law, N. Ellington, the Circuit Clerk of Coles County, and was hung by a mob in January, 1855, at Charleston. The jury was composed of William and James Hammet, Coleman Bright, Henry Lowe and John Frahme of Camargo Township; Amzi Williman, I. L. Jordan and Israel Harris, of Garrett; S. Meyers, Daniel Martin, Squire Adams and Dan Foster; they brought in a verdict of “murder in the first degree.” This mob had no occasion to violate the law, but having come to see the show, and fearing disappointment, concluded to have the show anyway. Mr. Jordan, and others of the jury, think they could have prevented it, if present. It is the blackest blot on Coles County, of which Douglas was then a part. By the way, is not the fact that burglaries and robberies in the earlier days were rare, owing to something besides the honesty and scarcity of valuables amongst the people. The perception, memory and observation of the residents were sharpened by the want of government, and no man could pass through the country without being specialy marked and remembered; not from suspicion—this rarely obtained—but from a habit of observation, born partly of their isolated position, and somewhat of their thirst for news. A man on horseback, or “any other man,” who went through the country, could be traced a hundred miles, and if necessary, overtaken; and we venture the assertion, that even to-day, outside of the villages, the women of the house will tell you who passed, his direction, appearance and outfit. This as to the public roads, of course. Now, the multitude of railroad stations give facilities to rogues; yet one of them must, if he expects to get clear off, have a station right handy.
THE “SPIRIT OF THE TIMES".
The residence of I. L. Jordan, north half of the southwest quarter, and southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 29, Township 16, Range 7 (lands which he entered in 1852), being central in the township, was a point for elections and other public meetings; it was also made a center for the collection of taxes by the Sheriff, who was then “Sheriff and Collector” under the old regime (before 1868) and county organization. Upon one occasion, 1859, the first Sheriff Sam Logan had made his collections at “Jordan’s,” as it was called, when not only had the people
generally met him there to pay taxes according to notice, but Jordan was shelling corn with twelve or fourteen hands. Sam had his saddle-bags with him, containing the results of two or three days’ collections, which were augmented at this place. About night, after “Sam” had partaken of the hospitalities of “Ike,” which any old settler who knows either will certify were not stinted, he mounted his horse and started for Tuscola, to deposit his money. At about 10:30 o’clock—pretty late, in those days, for men who began work at 4 A.M.—Jordan, in bed, heard the customary “hello,” and, as was usual, responded promptly, expecting to entercourse, “light.” But Sam said, “No, I can’t stop. I hung my saddle-bags on the corner of the stable, forgot them, and went off, and now they are not there.” Ike, after plaguing him a good deal, which he couldn’t help, handed them to him, and Sam went on his way rejoicing. The saddle-bags contained about $2,500. This little incident is related to show the spirit of the times. Sam probably took his “pile,” and going on to Tuscola quietly deposited—well, simply woke up some merchant, at a store, and, making up his package, a conglomerate mass of wild-cat money issued by almost every bank in North America, slapped it into such a safe as was used, and calmly went on his way, or more likely went to bed where he struck. The only banks were the safes of merchants—Wyeth, Craddock & Co., J. M. Smith, Davis & Ensey, etc., etc. Every fellow called for his money when he wanted it, and always got it. The depositors would often permit the merchant to use some of the money, and always got it on call. This mutual confidence was never abused, though they never took receipts.
The village of Atwood is situated on the west line of the township, at the county line, lying partly in both the counties of Douglas and Piatt, and on either side of the east and west railroad, its location being in Section 30, Township 16 north, Range 7 east. Harvey Otter contributed the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter, and George Nolind the north half of the southwest quarter; Ritchie and others “put in” land in Piatt County. It was laid off on paper by Patterson, First Assistant Engineer of the railroad, and surveyed by Niles, the then County Surveyor, in 1873. In those years, the County Surveyor was, by law, the only person qualified to survey town lots, the law being since changed, so that any competent surveyor can now act.
The streets are named East A street, East B street and East C street, etc. and North Front, North Second, North Third, etc. The Douglas County plat consists of nineteen blocks, which are generally 40 feet front by 150; streets, lanes and alleys are parallel with and at right angles to the railroad, and the whole is compactly and conveniently arranged. The railroad, besides the usual right-of-way reserved of 100 feet wide, has also reserved a tract north of its line 150 feet wide, and extending east from the county line 1,100 feet, nearly four acres. The dedication of the lots and blocks, in the signing of the plats for record, was made jointly by the original proprietors of the land, and H. C. Moore, the Superintendent of the railway, Hammond, the President, and T. H. Macoughtry, the Railroad Attorney, the owners of the ground having, for certain considerations, agreed to give these gentlemen a half-interest in all the lots and blocks, with some reservations. This led to some confusion, many deeds having been made without the signature of all the parties, but which was finally cured by quit-claiming back to the first owners of the land.
The first store in the village was a dry goods establishment by Helton & Barrett, at the southwest corner of County street and South Front street.
The first church erected in the village is the New-Light Christian Church, which was built in 1880 at an expense of about $1,400. It is furnished with a good bell, costing about $80, and commands in its membership many of the best citizens who are not the same as the the Disciples of Christ, which is the Christian Church, who added the present edifice subsequently, at a cost of about $1,600. This church has also a good bell. These bells chime in loving unison, and in their sweet accord give no
intimation of their preference.
The Methodist Church was removed from Mackville as part of the exodus therefrom in 1883. The building is worth about $1,200, and the cost of moving it was about $200.
We have in little Douglas the Presbyterians and the Cumberland Presbyterians, the Methodist Episcopal and the Methodist Protestant, the High Church Episcopalians and the Low Church Episcopalians, the Christian Church and the “Old New-Light” Christian Church, and two kinds of Baptists, etc., and are thus able to offer facilities to truth-seekers not to be surpassed by any county of our size in the State.
The first hotel regularly started in Atwood was built by the Barretts, at its present location, the southeast corner of County and Front streets (there ain’t a man in the village knows where that is), and offers attractive comfort to the traveling public.
The village has three churches, and as yet no schoolhouse, which latter the rapidly growing interests of the place imperatively demand. A movement now (1884) is on foot to build. It is a thriving place, with good surroundings, and is rapidly securing the trade of a wealthy vicinage which had been heretofore about equally divided between Tuscola and Bement.
The derivation of the name, Atwood, is not known, though as a family name it is not unusual.
We are happy to record the advent of the first newspaper published in the village, which has been christened the Atwood Independent, and, under the charge of S.W. & F.E. Lucas, made its salutatory on December 14, 1883. It is a six-column paper of eight pages, four of which are printed on the co-operative plan, like all of its Douglas County illustrious predecessors. To this last and youngest candidate for public patronage we say cordially exactly what we said to the very first paper published in the county, i. e., welcome.
December 14, 1883, a petition was filed with W. H. Bassett, County Judge, signed by thirty legal voters residing within certain territory, the greater portion of which lies in Douglas County, setting forth a desire to become incorporated as the “village of Atwood;” that the number of inhabitants in the proposed bounds was 300. The County Judge accordingly fixed upon January 9, 1884, as the time, and the office of J. W. Merritt, J.P., as the place, when and where the election should be held, and he appointed as Judges of Election James A. Hawks, M. C. Drake and A. L. Marshall, which gentlemen, in due course, made the following report:
There were cast at such election: For village organization, 66 votes; against village organization, 42 votes; total, 128 votes.
THE AREA OF THE VILLAGE
The territory included in the village incorporation is comprised of the west half of the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter, and the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter, and the west half of the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter, and the north half of the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter, and the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter in Section 31, in Douglas County; and the east half of the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter, and the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter, and the east quarter of the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter, and the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter, and the north half of the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter in Section 36 in Piatt county, all in Township 16 north, being in area 290 acres, of which 160 acres are in Douglas, leaving 130 in Piatt County.
The matter was prepared and concluded by C. G. Eckhart, Esq., of Tuscola.
Mackville, in Piatt County, situated on Lake Fork, a branch of the Okaw, is a hamlet about one mile northwest of Atwood, in the northwest corner of Section 36, Township 16, Range 6, and once upon a time exercised
some control in the region and till 1873, when the railroad having been located one half of a mile south, making Atwood, it was compelled to yield to circumstances. The business men sought the new place, and some buildings were removed with them. Dr. Marshall, now of Atwood, had invested considerable means, and controlled a good trade there until 1879, when he transferred his interest to his present location.
“Goodson’s” is a flag station situated at the west side of Section 34, Township 16, Range 7, directly west of the north and south public road. It is about one quarter of a mile east of its former location, which was in front of Thomas Goodson’s residence, where all railroad travelers were cordially welcomed whilst the travel was light and confined to friends and neighbors; but as the business of the road increased, the house was being rapidly made a daily waiting room for passengers in all weathers, and even the proverbial hospitality of the occupants had to give way, and the station was moved east. The right of way for the road through these Goodson lands has not to date, in ten years, been secured, and a suit for trespass and damages was decided in favor of the land owners.
Another station at which some regular trains stop without a signal, is called Howe, and is situated near the center of Section 36, Township 16, Range 7. It was known as “Bowen” up to about 1880, when, upon a demand being made for a post office, it was found that there was already in the State an office of that name. The name Brian was suggested, but it was finally christened Howe. The station consists of a store, two or three dwellings, scales and a mill, with a railroad side track for the accommodation of the neighborhood. Only one town lot has been laid off, which was sold by Samuel Dearduff to Green for a store site. A few lots and blocks were laid off in 1882 by Lindsey, a land owner, on the north side of the tract, but the prospect not being very encouraging, the plat was not recorded.
On the farm of Thomas Brian, near the Okaw in Section 14, Township 16, Range 7, is a fine fountain of living water and a favorite resort for old settlers, West End annual meetings and for picnics and parties ad libitum— the cordial welcome always extended by Mr. Brian being invariably an additional attraction, thoroughly appreciated by Tuscola’s young folks.
This spring and farm were carefully examined and reported upon by Dr. J. L. Reat and others in 1877, when bids were in order for the location of the Eastern Insane Asylum, which was finally located in Kankakee.
POPULATION AND POLITICS.
The population of Garrett Township for the ninth census, 1870, was 1,599, and by the tenth census, 1880, was 1,629, an increase in ten years of only ninety, which may be accounted for by the reflection that though the village of Atwood has arisen since 1870, the Douglas County part of the village has not received many accessions of people who were new comers to the township.
The political complexion of this subdivision of the county is Republican by a very few votes, two or three or four, and popular Democrats have occasionally been elected to office; one Democratic Supervisor having been five times sent in. The personal property tax-payers of this township, number, in 1883, just 400, which multiplied by four, equal 1,600. The census of 1880 was taken by Daniel T. Wells. He found forty-four named Lewis; of the Randolphs there were thirty-nine; Garretts, thirtyone; Brians, twenty-eight, and sixteen Lesters. There were no colored persons in the township.
Garrett has been represented at the county seat by F. C. Mullen, who was elected County Judge in 1861. This was under the old style of county organization which stopped in 1868. I. L. Jordan was elected Sheriff in 1864. Caleb Garrett was the first Supervisor of the township, elected in 1868. He was succeeded by William Ellars in 1869, who was re-elected in 1870-71-72, being followed by J. W. Hackett in 1873. Thomas Owen in 1874, and Josiah Hoots in 1875. William Howe was in the same position in
1876, 1882 and 1883; Jason Green was elected in 1877, and is the only Democrat placed in that office to date. He was re-elected in 1878-79. Claus Greve, a naturalized German, was sent in in 1880, and Green was returned again in 1881, and re-returned in 1882. The present Supervisor is William Howe, who was re-elected in 1884.
The Assessor’s valuation for 1883, of personal property in the township is $125,012; the lands are valued at $337,583.
The large number of well-written and interesting biographical sketches which appear in this volume, contain, in addition to individual history, a vast amount of matter that will well repay the careful study of the more intelligent citizens. These notes are written in the hope, indeed with the faith, that the combination will make almost a real history of Douglas County; and it may not be out of place to say, right here, that in the future, as in the past, one of the local would-be historians will always gladly welcome memoranda, notes and suggestions pertaining to recollections of events, not of public record; or indeed the side issues of many things, the “gist” of which can generally be had from the books. The writer is under obligations to several citizens, who have, unsolicited, forwarded information. A good history of our county, when supported by the public spirit of our people, “kind o’ whoops things up,” so to speak, and gains us the respect of our neighbors, and even though the historian may “draw upon his memory for his wit” (sic), he dares not “draw upon his imagination for his facts,”
“For fact’s a chiel that winna gang,
An’ dsurna be disputed.”