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
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
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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