Genealogy Trails
Jackson County, Illinois

CARBONDALE TOWNSHIP


Carbondale Township is town nine south, range one west of the third principal meridian.  On the north is DeSoto, east Williamson County, south Makanda, west Murphysboro Township.  Until about the year 1872, DeSoto was included in this, the two constituting a precinct. The surface of the township is generally of a level or rolling nature, except to the northeast and southeast portions, where there are a few sand-stone hills.  The water courses are Big Muddy, which crosses the northwest corner.  Big Crab Orchard crosses the township from south to north, in the eastern part.  Little Crab Orchard, in the western part, crosses from south to north entering the Big Crab Orchard a shot distance above the brother boundary of the township.  And Piles' Fork which flows in a northeasterly direction across the central part of the township, entering the Big Crab orchard near the center of the township.  These creeks are all small, but they serve as a complete system of drainage. The natural resources of the township are rather limited.  The timber is principally of oak, ask, hickory, walnut and poplar, of which there is a thick growth in all parts.  Coal is found in limited quantities in the central part.  The soil is capable of yielding largely in all parts, if properly cultivated. There was an Indian Trail crossing the eastern side of the township and an encampment on Crab Orchard Creek. There was a stone quarry in section 2 which produced fine stone.

The railroads were The Illinois Central, the G. T. & C. and the C.& S. which all passed through the town of Carbondale.  The first settlers in the township were a family of squatters by the name of PHELPS, who cleared two or three acres of land in section 34 on which they cultivated corn, but their principal source of provisions was from the game found in the woods around.  Following the PHELPS's came John MURDEN in 1829, as the first permanent settler.  He settled in the same section as PHELPS, and commenced to clear a farm.  MURDEN was followed in 1831 by James BOREN and a family by the name of WINGATE, and shortly afterward by the HANSONS, BREWSTERS, SNIDERS and many others.

Messrs. HOLDEN, SMITH and HANSON deeded the first land on which coal was dug, situated on Crab Orchard Creek.  Here the coal cropped out, and any man wishing coal had only to dig it and haul it away.  Blacksmith came here from Jonesboro', twenty miles and more, to get coal to supply their forges.  At present (1877) there are but two mines in the township, both found in section22, one on the farm of S.T. Brush, the other on the farm of J. B. Richart. Until the grading for the I.C.R.R. was begun in 1857, the principal produce was corn, but as soon as the railroad was completed, a means of transportation was furnished and the farmers began sowing wheat, which increased until the present year (1877) there is scarcely enough corn to supply home wants. The first mill in this township was a horse mill, built by Mr. Lyphas DAVIS, in section 29.  He afterward sold the mill to a Mr. BIDDLE, who moved it about half a mile to the southwest.  Corn was carried a distance of more than 15 miles to this mill, each person having to await his turn and furnish a horse to turn the mill, and if he wanted his meal bolted, he did it himself.

The first water mill was built in section 35, on Drury Creek, by Wm. LINDSEY, and about the same time another by Isaac and Reuben WINGATE, on the same creek.  At these mills corn was ground and lumber sawed. The first steam mill was built in the eastern part of the township by Alfred SINGLETON.  The county line between Jackson and Williamson ran through a portion of the machinery. Mr. Amer HANSON began the first school in 1832 in a log house in the southwest part of the township.  In a tobacco barn on the farm of William BRADFORD, a school was taught, in 1833, by John MURDEN.  The first known preaching was done by Mr. Jas. GENTRY.  He preached in the house of John MURDEN in 1831.  A Mr. Ignatius O. DANIEL also preached about the same time and he lived in section 33.

The Missionary Baptists built the first church and school in one building.  It was built in 1833 and was on the ground partially occupied by the present (1877) Bowyer Cemetery, section 23. The first child to die in the township was buried in the Bowyer Cemetery in 1832.  The first marriage in the township was in 1832 when Jonathan WINGATE and a Miss BOWEN were married.  The School Treasurers of the township were: 1. William BROWN.  He held the office for 10 or 12 years. 2. Dr. Wm. RICHART  3. Samuel T. BRUSH, who was treasurer in 1877.  In 1877 there were 6 schools in the township.  The farmers in the township were Ephraim SNIDER and his sons. Their farms were located in the east and northeast.  The family seat of the SNIDER farm was 1.5 miles east of Carbondale on the old stage road to Marion.  Between there and town was the farm of George SNIDER.  The farm of Isaac DILLINGER was located in the northwest part of the township.  The home was situated in the midst of apple and peach orchards.  On the west were the farms of Dr. JOHNSON and Wm. SYKES.

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