The Hussey - Holley Families
China Townshp
The Dixon Evening Telegraph by Donald C. Hussey - 01 May 1951


The Holly family were English people who migrated from Canada into western New York state in 1780 and settled at the town now known as Fredonia, N.Y. Here, in 1817, was born Jane fredonit Holly, who was the first white child born in that place. In 1834 she was married to Amos Hussey, both families later migrating westward to Illinois, and they were some of the first settlers in China township, Lee county. Jesse Holly, David Holly and Charles Harrison staked out the first claims in China township in 1835.

The Hussey family were Welsh people who settled at York, PA, prior to the Revolutionary War. Amos Hussey was of the fourth generation of this family. In 1837, he with his wife, Jane Holly Hussey, and their young daughter, Mary (who later became the wife of Josiah Little of Amboy) came to China township, by covered wagon and spent the winter of 1837 in the Noe cabin. The following spring they moved to a cabin near the present Hussey farm at Franklin Grove. At this place were born their sons, Jerome Hussey and Columbus D. Hussey (1852).

In 1883 Columbus D. Hussey was married to Maud (Nicodemus) Secrist. She was born in Waynesboro PA in 1857 and in 1864 came with her parents to Illinois after their home was raided by soldiers of the Confederate army before the battle of Gettysburg. Columbus D. and Maud Secrist Hussey were the parents of Blaine C., Margaret J. (Trostle), Amos J., Donald C., Mary L. (Jenkins), and Maude S., most of who live in the vicinity of Franklin Grove and Jeannie Y., deceased.

The Hussey family still retain part of the land of the original land patent which comprised several hundred acres and is now divided into several fine farms. The original log cabins of Amos Hussey, Jesse Holly and David Holly stood on land that is now part of what is known as the Ira Trostle farm. Jesse Holly (millwright) together with Jeremiah Whipple, built and operated the first saw mill at Whipple's Cave, traces of which can still be seen today. Mr. whipple purchased the machinery and had it brought here from the east. Mrs. Jesse 9Harrison) Holly was the first person buried in the Franklin Grove cemetery in 1839. Eight people were buried south of the railroad culvert wet of Franklin Grove before the Franklin Grove cemetery was organized. Amos Hussey had two infant sons buried there.

Among the early families who settled in the Grove prior to 1840 were the Minor, WHitney, Lahman, Hausen, Chamberlain, Tolman, Roe, Yale, Morgan, Hughes and Noe families, along with various others. The first log cabins built were the Noe cabin near Iron Springs (1835-36), the Morgan cabin on what is known as the Marcus Wingert farm (1836) and the Hussey and Holly cabins (1836-37).

The first schoolhouse in the township was the Jeremiah whipple Cabin at Whipple's Cave; later the Morgan cabin was also used. The first schoolhouse in Franklin Grove was a log cabin built where Walter Beachley now lives. The first school teacher was Sarah Edmonds, who boarded with the Amos Hussey family. Here the children of the first settlers got their schooling.

The village of Franklin Grove was first named Fremont, later changed to Chaplin, and incorporated as the Village of Franklin Grove in 1857. It is said that it was so named in honor of Father Dixon's son Franklin.

The first post office was in a log cabin on what is now the Edgar Lott farm. The mail was carried by stage and horseback.

The land which comprises the village of Franklin Grove was platted by the Tolman and Lahman families in 1853. The original town of Fremont, later Chaplin, was located in the southwet corner of the present town.

The site of Franklin Grove was originally a beautiful hard maple grove which extended east to the John Mong farm where it ended in open prairie. The land in China township .... be found anywhere. Such names as Iron Springs, Black Bass, Whipple Cave, Steamboat Rock, Lover's Leap, Halsey Pond and Mill Springs are known to everyone living in this part of the country.

The Hausen family who still own much of the grove, came here in 1838, making their first home in the Noe cabin at Iron Springs. They acquired many acres of this land it is still in their possession. Thanks to Fred H. Hausen that part of the grove which he owns has been kept in its natural state. This grove extends all along the Franklin Creek to where it empties into ROck River above Grand Detour. You will not be disappointed if you will visit these beautiful spots sometime.


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