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South Otter Township

This Township is situated in the more northern part of the county and is bonded on the north by North Otter, on the west by South Palmyra, and on the south by Carlinville, and on the east by Nilwood township. It is geographically known as township 11 north, range 7 west. In the eastern portion and most of the southern the land is beautiful prairie, of a deep, black soil. The north-west portion of the township is covered with a fine growth of timber, the principal kinds being oak, hickory, and cottonwood. Formerly the west and north-west sides, comprising about one-fourth of the township, were timber land. The principal streams are Otter Creek and its tributaries. The land adjoining this stream are heavily timbered, and thus afford an excellent opportunity for stock husbandry.
The first settler, within the present limits of South Otter Township, was a man by the name of Days, who moved a log house across Otter Creek, from South Palmyra Township. The first new buildings were erected by Samuel and Henry Miller; the former completing his house first. Prominent among the earliest settlers of the township may be ranked the names of Henry and Samuel Miller, Irvin and Martin Pullman, Joel Bond, Alvey Graves, William Etter, Comfort Smith, Samuel Clark, David Davidson, J. Adams, T.S. Barrow, M.M.Ross, Robert and Thomas Bacon, G.D. Crawford, and others.
The first physician who came to the township was Dr. Vance.
William M. Clark, son of Samuel and Mary Clark, was born March 14, 1838, and was the first birth in the township.
The first death was that of Mrs. Elizabeth Miller, in September, 1838, at her son's house, on section 30.
The first party married was Samuel Raffurty, to a Mrs. Hoover, in the fall of 1837.
A log school house was built on section 30, at an early date, and Mrs. Mary Bacon was the first teacher. Annie Dorman succeeded her.
In 1839, Mrs. Mary Bacon organized a Sunday-School at her house, in section 19, which was the first in the township.
Rev. William Vance, a Methodist, and a Rev. Williams, a Presbyterian, preached in the school house, on section 30, at a early day. The Baptist Church, at Hickory Point, was erected in 1869, and is the only one in the township.
Daniel Snyder was the first regular carpenter in the township.

A saw mill, built by Henry Miller in section 30, and run by horse-power, was the first and in fact the only one in the township. He abandoned it about the year 1850.

The first land entry was made November 8, 1831, by M.P. Pullam, and M. Witherow; it consisted of ninety-two acres in section 2, comprising forty acres, lying in section 6, was entered December 5, 1833, by Peter Lair. Another entry, comprising forty acres, situated in section 10, was made on the 26th of May, 1834, by Casper Roland.

Present Old Settlers- T.G. Barrow, J.Adams, David Davidson, and M.H.Ross, all of whom settled here in the year 1830; G.D. Crawford, who came in 1832, and Robert Bacon, Thomas Bacon and J.M. Lair, who residence date from the year 1837.

List of Officers since township organization

Supervisors- William H. Johnson, elected in 1871; Robert Bacon, elected in 1872 and 1873; Moses Yowell, elected in 1874, 75', 76' and 77'; Thomas Mahan, elected in 1878; Moses Yowell, elected in 1879.

Town Clerks-J.M. Yowell, elected in 1871 and 72' ; P.R. Cox, elected in 1873; W.D. Metcalf, elected in 1874; T. Bacon, elected in 1875, 76, and 77; I.Conlee, elected in 1878 and 879.

Assessors- T. Bacon, elected in 1871; J.D. Johnson, elected in 1872, 73, 74, and 75; R. Bacon, elected in 1876; T. P. Carmody, elected in 1877; R. Bacon, elected 1878 and 1879.

Collectors- M. Smith, elected in 1871; R.Z. Johnson, elected in 1872, and 73; T. Mahan, elected in 1874 and 75; J.W. Johnson, elected in 1876; R. Bacon, elected in 1877; T. Cole, elected in 1878; J.S. Hart, elected in 1879.

Justice of the Peace-A. Cunningham, and I.D. Crawford, elected in 1871; J.W. Johnson and J.M. Lair, elected in 1873; H.J. Howard, and E.J.Palmer, elected in 1877.

Constables- W.B.Gilmore, and B.V. Carey, elected in 1871; T.M. Lair, elected in 1872; G. F. Jones, and S.S. Cole, elected in 1873; L.Harbor, elected in 1874; E.B. Crawford and T. Bacon, elected in 1877.

Commissioners of Highways- 1871, John Conlee, M. Crouch, Joseph Crawford; 1872, M. Smith; 1873, John Conlee; 1874, M. Crouch; 1875, Mortimer Smith; 1876, David Zweifle; 1877, W. H. Jenkins; 1878, M. Crouch, R.Z. Johnson; 1879, R.Z. Johnson, and C.F. Alford.


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