Hamilton County, Illinois
Genealogy and History


HAMILTON COUNTY, ILLINOIS

SETTLEMENT

It is not easy to state with certainty who was the first settler within the present limits of Hamilton County, but the following are among the names of the early settlers: David Upton, who located about six miles southwest of the present town of McLeansboro in 1816, on what is known as Knight's Prairie.

Charles Heard came in a few weeks later from Rutherford County, Tenn., near Stone River, and purchased the improvements of David Upton, consisting mainly of a small log cabin.   Mr. Heard brought with him his wife and five childrenJames M., John H., Charles H., Elizabeth and Polly.  

Other early settlers were John Bishop, John Hardister, William Hungate (the latter having a family of four or five children), Jacob Coffman, Gilbert Griswold, Samuel Hogg, John Townsend, Jacob Braden, Abram Irvin; John Schoolcraft and his four sons, James, John, Hezekiah and Almon, and three daughters, Nancy, Margaret and Susan; William Christopher, and Jesse Hardister; John Daily and his family of six sons and four daughters, viz.: Anderson, William, Vincent, John, Levi  and Harvey, and Nancy,  Jessie, Mary   and Elisabeth (Nancy married Benjamin Hood, Jessie married Daniel Tolley, Mary married Job Standerfer, and Elizabeth married John Bond); Frederick Mayberry and his sons, Frederick, Jacob, George and Solomon; Samuel Biggerstaff and his sons, Hiram, Wesley and Alfred; William Hopson and Jesse Hopson, brothers; Richard Smith and his sons, Samuel and John B. Smith; William B. McLean, brother of John McLean, of Shawneetown; Freeman McKinney, brother-in-law of William B. McLean; Thomas Smith and Richard Smith, each with a large family; Townsend Tarlton, one of the members of the first county commissioners' court; Robert Witt; Richard Lock and his sons, John, Jonas, William and Samuel; Mastin Bond, father of John Bond; Andrew Vance and family; Adam Crouch; John Buck, son of Frederick Buck, of Gallatin County, and his sons, John and William; John Ray, John, James, Caleb and Matthew Ellis; Jesse C. Lockwood, brother of Judge Lock woo , of the Illinois Supreme Court; Cheater Carpenter, a Baptist preacher, and his son, Milton Carpenter, also a Baptist preacher, and afterward State treasurer; Dr. Lorenzo Rathbone, and John Anderson, whose daughter married Dr. Rathbone; Gabriel and Edmund Warner; A. T. Sullenger, John Willis, Merrill Willis, Hardy C. Willis, Elijah Burriss; John Moore, father of Mrs. Charles Heard, and his sons, James, Alfred and Green; Levi Wooldridge, in the southeastern part of the county, and John Wooldridge, near the present site of Hoodville; Job Standerfer, William Denny and James Lane, Sr., the latter coming into the county in 1818, from Sumner County, Tenn. with his family, consisting of his wife and sons, William, Leaven, Thomas, James, Jr., (afterward county judge), and L. B. Lane and daughters, Sadie, Lavina, Elizabeth and Mary.   Lewis Lane, another son of James Lano, Sr., came at the same time as the head of a family, bringing his wife, Mary, and two children, Joel P., and Eliza who is now living as the widow of Lewie Prince, her second husband, the first having been a Mr. Biggerstaff.)   Mr. Grimes and his sons William and "Don," came in 1818, probably from Kentucky.   John Biggerstaff, a brother of Samuel, was also an old settler, and a Mr. Billings and his sons, Henry and William, came in 1817.   Robert Wilson, with his wife and daughter Eliza, came from Kentucky.   William Allen and his sons, John and Jacob, and Thomas Garrison were also early pioneers. Some of those who settled in the northeast part of the county in early days wore Jr. Rador, Adam Thompson and sons, William Porter, Hiram and  Eli York (brothers from Kentucky), Thomas White and sons, Hugh and Thomas; James Hopson, John Palmer, Michael Smithpeter; Langston Drew and his sons, John and William, and daughters, Elizabeth, Frances  and  Nancy; Samuel Martin and wife and two sons, and two daughter Lewis Thomas with his wife and two daughters, from White County, Tenn., Hiram  Thomas, wife, and sons and Mrs. Lewis F. Peter and Samuel, and two or three daughters, John Davis, Jesse Moore, from Tennessee, with his wife and four sons and four daughters; a Mr. Sexton and his son Harvey, Edward and William Compton, and Lewis Thompson (who married a Sexton, and became very wealthy).

In the southern part of the county were James Twigg, who came in 1822, from Rutherford County, Tenn., after whom Twigg Township was named, and who is still living at the age of eighty-three; Henry Hardister came as a young man; John Burnett and family, Isaac Johnson with a large family; Robert Johnson and his
sons, John L. and G. W.; Samuel Wilson and Charles and three daughters; Jacob Braden, in 1819, with five or six sons; Jesse C. Lockwood, Charles Phelps, Gilbert Griswold; Richard Waller, with wife, three sons and three daughters; John Smith with wife, three sons and three daughters; John Douglass, from Tennessee, with wife and sons, James, Hezekiah and Hugh, and three or four daughters; "Hal" Webb, David Keazler; John and John S. Davis, from South Carolina; Mr. Young, with his-wife; Hugh Gregg; Samuel Flannigan, with a large family; Uriah Odell and two brothers, and William, Charles and Christopher Hungate.  

Some of those in the vicinity of Knight's Prairie were Robert Page, from South Carolina, with three sons and some daughters, Capt. Hosea Vise and Nathaniel Harrison; Nimrod Shirley, with a large family; John Hall, grandfather of the present lawyer, John 0-Hall, of McLeansboro; Richard Maulding, William James; William Lane, wife, two sons and three daughters; Lewis Lane, grandfather of Gov. Henry Warmoth, of Louisiana, who was born in McLeansboro about the year 1840; Martin Kountz, John Griffey, John Shaddock; Robert Clark, wife, three sons and three daughters; Thomas, Hiram and John Barker, from Kentucky; Samuel Beach, who afterward moved to Wayne County; William Hall, father of the present sheriff of the county; Elijah, John, William and Robert Kimsey, each with a large family; Jeremiah McNimmer, William P. Procter, David Procter, Reuben Procter, Isaac McBrown, and Hazel, Calvin. John, Henderson and Robert McBrown. Joseph Shelton, Nathan Garrison; Mr. Stall, wife and son James, who is still living; William Stearman, Martin Stearman, Mr. Lowery and son John Lowry, Elliott W. and Young S. Lowery, all from Tennessee; Hazel Cross and family, Pleasant Cross and family, Mr. Whitewell and family, Isaac Going and family; Thomas Burton and family, consisting of wife, four sons and five-daughters; Reuben Oglesby; William Johnson, wife and two sons, Jesse and Eli; Ephraim and Thomas Cates, both with families; Philip Bearden and family; a portion of the above in the northwest part of the county.   Samuel McCoy and O. L. Cannon, from Ohio, settled in the vicinity of the present Dahlgren, and also Henry Bunyon and George Irvin, in 1822, in the same part of the county.  A. M. Auxier settled in the northern part of the county, or in Wayne County.   Auxier's Creek and Auxier's Prairie were named after him.   His son, Benjamin Auxier is well remembered from a difficulty he had with a man named Grant, occasioned by jealousy of the latter with reference to some woman whose name is not to appear in this history.   In connection with the affair Grant swore he would kill Auxier, and Auxier, wishing neither to be killed nor to kill Grant, caught him in the woods, bound him to a log with a strong withe across his neck, and put out both of his eyes.


Crouch Township was named after Adam Crouch.    In this township were the following as early pioneers: William Ellis, William Howls, wife and three or four sons, John Warfield, wife and three sons and three or four daughters, all from Kentucky; Jarrott Trammell, wife and sons, Nicholas and Philip; Francois Lasloy, Phelan Woodruff, Charles Crissell, David Garrison, Sr., Abram Peer, Samuel Close and family, James Hall, Charles Tarter, Robert Van Devener, Samuel Deets (first tailor in McLeansboro), who came from Logan County,»Ky.; John Irvin (first hatter in McLeansboro); John White and family, from Tennessee; George Saltsman and family,  Martin Sims, James Hunter, James and David Barnes; Mr. Lakey, who lived on the 'Jones tract," after whom Lakey's Creek was named, and who was killed by his son-in-law; Moses and Abraham Hudson, Andrew Peck, Mason Morris, Edward Gatlin and Lofty Nichols (the latter lived near McLeansboro), William Vickers, Samuel Grouse, James Hughes,  Thomas   Howard, and  several others whose names can not now be ascertained   The first white settler whoever he was, has left no posterity to perpetuate his name. George McKenzie is said to have settled here about 1810.

Mastin Bond has been mentioned above as one of the ancient pioneers. His son, Richard Bond, related to Thompson B. Stelle the following incident relative to "Indian Charley," the last of the Shawnee Indians to leave the happy hunting grounds of this county. This Shawnee was a " medicine man" of great reputation among his race. He lived on Opossum Creek, near Joseph Coker's farm, where he remained until 1823, about one year after his wife had gone away. He said he felt sad to leave his happy hunting grounds and the graves of his fathers, but that he believed the Great Spirit had given the country to the 11 pale face,"
and he was, in that view of it, content to go. On the day before his departure he told Mastin Bond and John Dale of a great secret. There was a small herb growing in their midst that would ruin the country some day if it were not destroyed. There was a small patch of it in Eel's Prairie, on Big Creek, and one near Auxier's Pond, on Auxier's Creek. The noxious weed was known to all the Indian doctors, but its ravages had not then commenced; so the old pioneers lost an opportunity to know and to destroy the deadly "Milk Sick."

The only other Indian story for which there is space in this sketch is one told in a short history of pioneer life in Hamilton County, by William Bryant. He says: "We left Mr. Ivy's place this morning, January 1, 1810," but he does not tell us where Mr. Ivy's place was. Prior, to leaving, however, there was a general hand-shaking all around, and the best wishes were bestowed upon all. The squaw then put in. Drawing a couple of French pipes from her bosom, she filled them both with the dried leaves of the sumac, then lighted each with a live coal. She put the stem of one in her mouth, drew three whiffs of smoke and handed the other to Mr. Ivy, raising three of her fingers near his face saying, "Good heart, smoke."    When he had taken three draws she lowered her fingers, took hold of his pipe and handed it to Mr. Bryant's uncle, going through the same performance, then offered the pipes to the married ladies, and so continued to all the company, but for the young people she filled the pipe with the pulverized leaves of the plant known as "Adam and Eve."

There was a young couple present who wanted to get married and the squaw performed the ceremony in the folioing manner: Filling two pipes she handed one to each of the couple, and when each had taken three draws she had thorn.change pipes and smoke them empty. She then laid both pipes on the ground, side by side and declared the couple man and wife. A grand march then followed with the squaw in the lead uttering tremendous yells.

It was stated above that the first white settler in Hamilton County, whoever he was, left no posterity to keep his name alive after his demise. This was not, however, by any means generally the case with the pioneers. Judge Thompson B. Stelle, in his historical sketch of the county elsewhere quoted from says:
Our good old grandfathers were always proud when the day would come that they like Jacob of old could name their twelfth son Benjamin. This Is illustrated by the story about the good old matron who when asked by a friend, how many children she had, replied that Indeed she did not know, that she and the old man kept count until they had a dozen whopping boys and girls, but that since then they had paid no attention to the matter.

In another place Judge Stelle says in substance: The mode of living in pioneer times was much different from what it is at the present time.   Meal was made in a" hominy mortar," a block of wood with a hole burnt in one side into which they put the corn and crushed it with a pestal attached to a spring pole. After separating the coarse from the fine, the former was called hominy, and the latter fine meal.   The fine meal was baked into bread for breakfast and the hominy boiled for dinner. The separation of the hominy from the fine meal was effected by means of a buckskin sieve, a piece of buckskin stretched over a hoop, with holes punched through it with an awl.   The common varieties of corn bread were 14 hoe cakes, " Johnny cakes," and "dodgers." A dodger was cooked by being roasted in hot ashes, a Johnny cake by placing the dough on a board near the fire, and when cooked on one side turned over and cooked on the other, and a hoe cake was cooked by placing the dough on a hoe which was placed on the fire and heated. The main reliance for flesh food was bear meat and venison.

Buckskin was the most common article used in making wearing apparel. Buckskin "breeches " were usually worn by the men, and buckskin dresses by the women. Their natural charms were not set off, as are those of the young ladies of the present day by yard upon yard of ribbons, laces and flounces, and it is said of the pioneer women that they were courted as assiduously and "as honestly, and were withal far more sensible than are their fair granddaughters, for they did not then court for pastime.

Following is a list of the land entries made previous to the organization of the county, February 8, 1821:
In 1815John B. Stovall, February 13, the northwest quarter of Section 11, Township 7, Range 7, and William Watson, November 7, the northwest quarter of Section 13, Township 7, Range 7.

In 1816John Townsend, November 15, the northwest quarter of Section 31, Township 5, Range 6; William Hungate, the southeast quarter of Section 15, Township 5, Range 5; John B. Stovall, November 19, the southeast quarter of Section 23, Township 6, Range 7, and on December 28, the northwest quarter of Section 12, Township 7, Range 7.

In 1817John Stone, January 31, the southwest quarter of Section 24, Township 6; Range 7; Ambrose Maulding, the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 13, Township 5, Range 5, and W. Buck and A. Crouch, November 24, the southeast quarter of Section 28, Township 3, Range 6; William Wheeler, July  17, the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 20, Town-ship 5, Range 7.

In 1818Frederick Mayberry, January 3, the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 11, Township 7, Range 7; Moses Shirley, February 13, the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 18, Township 5, Range 6; John Dale, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 18, Township 5, Range 6; Samuel Hogg, February 19, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 31, Township 5, Range 6; John Hardisty, March 23, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 35, Township 5, Range 5; John Tanner, April 20, the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 1, Township 5, Range 7; Michael Jones, May 5, the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 23, Township 5, Range 6; Thomas Sloo, Jr., May 11, the southwest quarter of Section 7, Township 5, Range 6; May 20, the northwest quarter of Section 3, Township 5, Range 6; the northeast quarter and the northwest quarter of Section 4, Township 5, Range 6; May 30, the southeast quarter of Section 33, Township 4, Range 6, and the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 34, Township 4, Range 6; Martin Bond, May 20, the southwest quarter of Section 33, Township 4, Range 6; William Hungate; July 23, east half of the southwest quarter of Section 23, Township 5, Range 5; Ralph Hatch, August 6, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 18, Township 5, Range 6; "Warner Buck, Jr., August 20, the east half of the southwest quarter of Section ,Township 3, Range 6; Eli Waller, August 21, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section , Township 3, Range 6; William B. McLean, September 9, the northwest quarter of Section 15, Township 5, Range 6, and William Wilson, the northwest quarter of Section 28, Township 5, Range 6; George Orispellf September 15, the southeast quarter of Section 4, Township 5, Range 6; John Marshall September 21, the southeast quarter of Section 10, Township 5, Range 6; the southwest section 11, Township 5, Range 6; the northwest quarter of Section 14, Township 5, Range 6, and the northeast quarter of Section 15, Township 5, Range 6; Henry B. Brockway, November 5, the south-west quarter of Section 19, Township 3, Range 7; November 13, the northwest quarter of Section 19, Township 3, Range 7; the northeast and the southeast quarters of Section 24, Township 3, Range 6; Gilbert Griswold, November 19, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 4, Township 7,  Range 6; William Wheeler, November 13, the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 19, Township 5, Range 7; Merrill Willis, November 15 the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 19, Township 5 Range 7; Hiram Greathouse, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 11, Township 7, Range 7; Warner Buck, December 14, the west half of the northwest quarter of Section  Township 3, Range 6; and Hardy Gatlin, December 14, the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 14, Township 5, Range 6; Abner Lamden, September 9, the southeast quarter of Section 36, Township 5, Range 7.

In 1819 William Hardisty, January 27, the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 35, Township 6, Range 7; Jesse Hiatt, February 4, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 28, Township 5, Range 7; Samuel Garrison, February 17, the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 29, Township 3. Range 6; Daniel Powell, the southeast quarter of Section 25, Township 6, Range 7; John Winson, March 1, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 12, Township 7,  Range 6; Enness Maulding, April 3, the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 12, Township 5, Range 5; William B. Anderson, Maj 11, the southwest quarter of Section 1, Township 6, Range 7; Frederick Mayberry, May 27, the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 14, Township 6, Range 7; John J Moore, June 1, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 85 Township 5; Range 5; George M. Tubman, September 1, the southwest quarter of Section 15, Township 5, Range 6 Robert M. Porter, September 8, the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 13, Township 5, Range 7; Elisha Gordon, September 10, the west half of the southeast quarter of Seotion 6, Township 5, Range 7; and Robert Anderson, December 2, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 13, Township 5, Range 6

In 1820 there was but one entry made, and that by Peleg Sweet, on January 5; the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 8, Township 7, Range 6; and in 1821 there were but two entries made, one by Christopher Hardisty, March 24, the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 36, Township 6, Range 7, and the other by Lewis Green, on December 6, the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 24, Township 4, Range 6.

The first deed recorded in the book of deeds was on the 8th of April, 1825. This deed was made April 8, 1823, by William Watson, and transferred the ownership of the northwest quarter of Section 13, Township 7, Range 7, 160 acres, from the maker to John B. Stovall for $100. The second deed on the record was made April 25, 1823, by Samuel Hogg, and transferred the ownership of the northwest quarter of Section 21, Township 6, Range 6, 160 acres, to John Townsend for $600. The third was made by William B. McLean, June 18, 1823, to the commissioners of Hamilton County, "for the use of the county commissioners of Hamilton County and their successors in office, of a certain tract or parcel of land, known and distinguished on a plat or map of the town of McLeansboro; said land being located, twenty acres of it, by the.commissioners appointed by the General Assembly to locate the county seat of Hamilton county, said tract or parcel of land containing forty acres, surveyed by Thorns Sloo, Jr., and return made of the same to the county commissioners' court of said county, and also lies in the lands sold at the Shawneetown District land office, being and lying-on the northwest quarter of Section 15, Township 5, Range 6." The consideration in this case was mentioned aa $1,000. A number of deeds then follow, made by the oounty commissioners1 oourt, June 19, 1823, of lots in the town of McLeansboro, sold the day previous to various individuals, for a partial list of which see the history of McLeansboro.

When these settlers began to come into the county, the country was, as was stated in the description thereof, mostly covered with timber.   Log cabins were the first residences, and their occupants had to go to Oarmi for bread.   The ever ready rifle or shotgun easily supplied them with a sufficient variety of moat- wild turkey, squirrels, bear, deer, as well as other kinds of game. The woods were also full of animals which would not serve as food, as wolves, against the ravages of which, as soon as domestic animals were introduced, it was necessary to furnish protection in the form of high rail fences, staked and ridered, for a wolf is not much more agile in the climbing of a high fence than a dog. There were also plenty of foxes, panthers and catamounts to prey upon the pigs and sheep.   Upon dressing hogs it was customary to go to Gallatin County, near Equality, for salt, carrying it home on horseback.   Then there was plenty of range, plenty of mast, so that horses, cattle, sheep and hogs were kept without expense. When crops began to be cultivated, there were no insects to wholly or partially destroy them, and previous to 1854, no drought of any consequence occurred. Crops were uniformly a success. It could then truly be said, " Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap," and of this every man felt sure. The chinch-bug or weevil had not immigrated so far toward the west; he was doubtless waiting until fully assured of the certainty of sustenance, and did not appear until the year 1862 or 1863, as nearly as can be ascertained; hog cholera, though, arrived about ten or twelve years before. The people themselves were scarcely ever known to be sick much less to die. chills and fever were almost the only complaint, and for these the almost unfailing remedies, wahoo or Indian arrow-root, and wafer-ash, a small
shrub, put into whiskey, were always at hand to oure.   The industries, however, were but insufficiently represented. Blacksmiths were so scarce that many of the settlers were compelled to travel a distance of from four to five miles to have tempered, mended or repaired, a hoe, an ax or plow, and these implements were all home made, and that by artisans possessing little skill. From this and other causes, agriculture was also very rude; but for this primitive condition of agriculture and of the arte, nature made ample compensation by the above-mentioned absence of the enemies of crops and the bountiful productiveness of the soil. The yield of corn was usually from thirty to forty bushels to the acre. Rye, oats and hay were always certain.   As the necessity for converting wheat into flour and corn into meal increased, horse mills and hand mills began to find their way into the county, the stones for which were quarried and dressed from the abundant millstone grit within the limits of the county.   One of these mills had an excellent local reputation; Storey's Mill made as good wheat flour as could then anywhere be found.   Some of the little corn crackers propelled by water-power are said to have been very industriousthey no sooner finished grinding one kernel of corn than they commenced upon another right away.   But notwithstanding the small capacity of the early  mills, the people managed to   survive.     There  were  not  so  many  of them   then as now, and as their numbers increased, their necessities and their facilities increased, at least, with equal pace.  

The first steam grist or flouring-mill, it is believed, was introduced in 1850, being built at McLeansboro, by Henry Wright. The second was by Jeptha Judd, and the third, a steam saw mill as well as flouring-mill, by a Mr. Wheeler. At first the "bar share plow " was the only one employed; then came the "Carey plow," the mold-board of which was about one-half rood, the other half of iron or steel, and at length the "diamond plow," a great improvement, invented by James Lane, for many years county judge which served a useful purpose and which has been compelled to succumb only within the past few years, in fact some of then may be seen even unto this day.   The wheat was for a long time threshed with flails or tread out with horses or with oxen upon the the threshing floor, and winnowed with a riddle and a sheet Fanning-mills were looked upon as a great advance, and threshing machines of the " ground-hog " style still a greater, which came in about 1857 or 1858.   Later still, and still a great advance, came the separator and threshing machine combined, and finally horses were, for the most part, supplanted by untiring steam.   Beyond this it seems undesirable and impossible to go. Though all gladly accept the improved and improving facilities which civilization brings, yet many, especially of the lingering pioneers, sincerely regret the change fro m the Arcadian simplicity of the pioneer life, to the greater  complexity and heterogeneousness, to the more cold, callous and stilted vanity and selfishness of the present day.   Then all were upon the same plane, all were sympathetic, all were helpful; none knew what it was to want for friendship, for assistance and encouragement and attention, whether in health or in distress; all were neighbors, even to distances of ten or twelve miles away.   Glasses and castes founded upon wealth instead of upon worth, were then unknown, or the rare exception to the rule.



Source FHL film # 0873820 History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin, and Williamson County, Illinois
Transcribed and Contributed by Barbara Ziegenmeyer


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