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Montgomery County
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HISTORY OF TOWNSHIPS
Source: "ILLUSTRATED ATLAS MAP, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, ILLINOIS", 1874
Submitted by Lynn Reener

SOUTH AUDUBON
The first settler in this township was Radford Virden. He settled in the south-eastern corner in 1832. About the years 1835 and 1836 George Cottingham, Bailey Osborn, William Craig, and William D. Cottingham settled in the southwestern part. In 1843 Shipton Estes, William Orear, James Smith, and William T. Slater settled in the northeastern corner.
William T. Slater was the first justice of the peace. He was elected in 1846.
At the same time Elias Pearce was elected constable. The first school was taught in 1849 by Charles Turner. In the same year, on section 12, was built the first school-house, a log structure.
The first two marriages occurred in 1845, - John Slater to Miss Julia Coy, and Dr. A. S. Vandeveer to Miss Isabel Slater. The first birth was that of Sarah J., daughter of William and Elizabeth Orear, in 1843. The first death was a daughter of Shipton and Margaret Estes. Elder Samuel Rogers, a Baptist preacher, constituted the first church in 1850.
This a fractional township, and was originally about one-fourth covered with good timber, the remainder brush and prairie. The soil is of average fertility. The eastern portion is somewhat broken by Ramsey Creek.



NORTH AUDUBON
The first settler in this township was Thomas Price. He located on section 36 in 1831. John Henry, his son, who was born in 1832, was the first birth; and his daughter Amanda, who died about the same time was the first death.
The most important settlement was made in 1834, by a colony of emigrants from the State of Massachusetts. They laid off the town of Audubon a short time after their arrival. Prominent among these were Hiram Holmes, hotel keeper and miller; M. S. Cushman, merchant; Samuel Patch, merchant; Isaac Hinkley, post-office and land agent; Robert Little, Otis Little, and William Pike, prominent farmers.
Another settlement was made in the eastern and central portion of the township in 1832 and 1833 by Thomas Hill, Bazil Hill, Joseph Davis and James Card.
M. S. Cushman was the first justice of the peace (in 1836), and William H. Russell was the first constable, elected at the same time. The first church was of the Unitarian order and was organized in the spring of 1839 by Rev. Mr. Huntington.
About one-sixth of this township was originally covered with good timber, the rest remaining part, prairie. The soil is good and the country well drained.


FILLMORE
This township was first settled in 1820, by emigrants from Kentucky and Tennessee. James Card, Thomas J. Todd, John Alexander, Henry Hill, M. Mason, and Peter Hill were among the first who chose this township as their place of abode. The first school-house was built on section 32, township 8, in 1825. The Baptist denomination built the first church, on section 24, township 1, about the year 1830. Rev. Henry Sears was the first pastor. Van Burensburg is a small village located on section 27, township 7. The northeastern portion of township 7 was the headquarters of Captain E. Wood, alias Clingman, a rebel officer in command of a small detachment of soldiers during the great rebellion. The township is gently undulating in the central portion, but in other parts quite rolling. It is intersected by the various branches of Hurricane Creek on the east, and Shoal Creek on the west.


NOKOMIS
The first settler in this township was by a man by the name of Bluford Shaw. The - exact date cannot now be determined. Next came Hugh Hightower. He settled on section 33, about 1843. John Henry settled on section 26, about 1846. After him came John Lower, John Nichols, Mason Jewett, and an old gentleman by the name of Redden. About 1854, a settlement was made in the northern part by Royal N. Lee, John Westmore, William Benton, Abram Vanhooser, William Lee and Andrew Coiner.
The first school-house was built on section 27. It is yet used. Henry Lower taught the first school in his own private house.
John J. Wetmore was the first justice of the peace, and John W. Hancock the first constable. The first church was a Methodist Society, organized at the residence of Solomon Smith. The Lutheran Society built the first house of worship in Nokomis. John W. Hancock and Miss Margaret Meratt were the first married. Rev. J. L. Crane, a Methodist minister, is supposed to have preached the first sermon.
This township was originally about five-sixths prairie, balance, timber and brush. The soil is good, and the lay of the land fine. This township is noted for its heavy corn crops. Has some Lange farms. Land all about taken up. The township is well supplied with schools, and generally has good, new school-houses.


EAST FORK
The first settler in this township was a man by the name of William McDavid. He settled on section 34, town 8, about the year 1820. Among others who settled soon after were Joseph Williams, Jesse Johnson, John Kilpatrick, E. Guinn, Henry Rowe, and David Bradford. On McDavid's Branch, in the west part of township 7, is a beautiful spring, where the Fox Indians in years gone by made their home, but left for "parts unknown" in 1828.
The first school-house was built of logs, on section 4, township 8, in 1828. The first church in this locality was built by the Presbyterians, on section 24, township 8, in 1833. The Reverends John Barber and Joel Knight were the first ministers who occupied the pulpit of this church. This township is composed almost wholly of prairie; bounded on the south by a strip of timber on McDavid's Branch. The soil of this town-ship is of an average quality.


IRVING
The first permanent settler in this township was John L. Franklin. He located in the western part of this township in 1826. The following year he was joined by Messrs. M. Rutledge, James Rutledge and Joel Knight, all from the State of Kentucky.
Ezra Bostick, a Revolutionary soldier, settled in this neighborhood at an early day, but the exact date we have not been able to ascertain.
The first school-house was built in the southwest corner of the township in the year 1827, with Mr. McEntire, aged seventy years, as teacher.
The first glace of worship erected in this locaity was called Hopewell, - a frame building, erected by the Episcopal Methodists, on section 34.
The village of Irving was located and settled in 1844. It is now a thriving town, containing upwards of eight hundred inhabitants, with the Illinois and St. Louis Rail-road running through it. Originally two--thirds of this township consisted of prairie land, beautifully undulating, and good soil, covered at the present time with fine farms.

ROUNTREE
This township took its name from Hiram Rountree, who came to Montgomery County about 1822, and settled in Hillsboro. He was elected to different county offices for about forty-five years.
Messrs. John Nussman, Noah Lipe, and Wiley Lipe located in the southern part of this township, on or about the year 1830. The above gentlemen were all from North Carolina.
The first school-house was erected in the southwest part of the township, in 1840, with John W. King as teacher.
In 1842, the Episcopal Methodists erected a place of worship in the southwest part of the township, having for pastor the Reverend George Fairbanks.
The township is all prairie, with the exception of a strip of timber about three miles long and about three-fourths of a mile wide, on the west side, along the middle fork of Shoal Creek.
Wheat and corn are the chief production of this township.
It is well supplied with schools, and the people are thrifty, moral, and intelligent.


BUTLER GROVE
was settled in 1818, by Jacob Cress and family. The first school taught by Mrs. Townsend in 1823, in a log cabin, on section 31. The first school-house was originally a part of Captain Thomas Phillips's residence, on section 29. Reuben Ross assisted the captain in fitting it up for school purposes. The next was a log house, built in 1849; the first school taught in it by Miss Mary Burnap. The first marriage was that of William H. Brown to Miss Harriet Seward.
This township is about one-tenth timber, with fine rolling prairies, well watered. The principal products are wheat and corn.


RAYMOND
William Wilson made the first settlement in this township, in 1827, on section 32. In 1828 he sold his claim to Matthew Mitchell. Soon after, Butler Seward entered a part of section 20, at present owned and occupied by E. W. Miller. The first school taught by Martha B. Cass, in her own house on section 35. The first school-house built on section 31, in 1832. The first marriage that took place is supposed to be that of Dr. William B. Herick to Miss Martha J. Seward. The first church erected in 1860, on section 20, about one mile south of the flourishing town of Raymond. This township contains a fine body of land for the various branches of agriculture adapted to this climate; many have made stock-raising a success.


WALSHVILLE
The first settlement of this township was made in the northeastern corner, by Melcher Fogleman, Nicholas Voyles, and William Stephens, about the year 1818, while Illinois was yet a Territory. The next settlement was made in the southeastern part about 1820, by Austin Grism, James Baker, and John Jordan. Up to 1830 this settlement was increased by John W. Garrison, Elias Garrison, and Russell Garrison.
About 1826, Robert Kirkland settled on section 15. About the same time, Joseph and John Evans settled on sections 35 and 36. John Simpson and John King located near where Walshville now stands in 1840. Fogleman was a blacksmith and built the first house and shop. Irvin Corey was the first justice of peace, and William Towel the first constable. John, son of Melcher and Elizabeth Fogleman, was the first born. Morris Chapel was the first house of worship, built by the Methodists. The first school-house was a little log structure, built on section 23, where Caleb Garrison's widow now resides. Emuel Clowson was its first occupant, as teacher, about 1834. Rev. John Jordan, a Baptist minister, preached the first sermon at his own residence. James Jordan and Elizabeth Grism were the first married, in 1825. The first church was organized by the Methodists, in 1821, at the residence of Elias Baker. This township was originally principally prairie; soil very rich and well drained. Somewhat broken in the east and north by Shoal Creek and Lake Fork.
The improvements of Walshville Township are good, the people sociable, refined, and intelligent. Well supplied with churches and schools.


SOUTH LITCHFIELD
Locherman was the first settler, settled on section 15 in the year 1872. About 1828 Saunders and McAfee settled in this township. John Crabtree and Newton Street settled there in the fall of 1831. William Jourden and Dillard Duff followed in the spring of 1832.
The first sermon preached in this township was preached at the residence of John Crabtree, by a Baptist minister, John Jorden, 1831.
The first death was on old man by the name of Duff in 1833.
The surface of the township is principally prairie: fertile, and well watered.


NORTH LITCHFIELD
Robert Briggs settled, in this township in 1816. The Wilkersons and Lochharts settled here about 1825. Thomas Hughes settled here in 1829; Peter Blackwelder, Alfred Blackwelder, and Israel Fogleman settled here about 1835.
The first church (Lutheran) was built about the year 1854; the Rev. Temper preached the first sermon. The first school-house was a small log house, built in the fall of 1849; George Baker taught the first school.


ZANESVILLE
The first settler in this township was a man by the name of Robert. Palmer. He kept a hotel near where Zanesville now stands. He also improved a farm. He proved to be a bad character and left the county, after committing robbery and theft, and was afterwards hung in Iowa.
The next settler was Mr. George Brewer. He laid off the precinct, secured a post office, and established the town of Zanesville, then called Leesburg, after Robert E. Lee, a wholesale merchant of St. Louis, in whose name Mr. Brewer entered the land on which the town was laid off. Mr. Brewer also established a dry goods and grocery store, buying his goods of Mr. Lee.
About 1829 a settlement was made in the southeastern part by Isaac Bailey, James Crawford, Jacob Baker, Thomas Williams, Zebedee Williams, and, a little later, Robert Allen.
Between the years 1835 and 1840 there came to Zanesville and vicinity Beatty Burke, George Burroughs, Dores D. Shumway, and an old man by the name of Chastine. From 1840 to 1848 a settlement was made around the head of Shoal Creek, by Walker Williams, William Hamilton, John White, Elgin Smith, Jeff Parrott and Moses Martin.
The first church organized was the United Baptists, at the head of Shoal Creek. Rev. James Street, a regular Baptist, preached the first sermon, at the residence of Jacob Baker, The two first justices of the peace were George Brewer and James Crawford; both elected at the same time, about 1835. The first school-house was built by Edward Crawford and others. The land on which it was built was entered and the house lost, before it was occupied as designed. Another was built (out of logs) by the same parties, on section 26, in which was taught the first school, by Henry Mayo, In 1838 Edward Crawford built a horse-mill, the first and only one in the western part of the county. Stephen Crawford was the first born, November 13, 1831, the night of the great meteoric display, called then, "the falling of the stars." This township was originally about three-fourths prairie; nearly all now under fence. Contains some large stock farms, and six school districts, with as many good school-houses, most of them new; has two good frame church-houses, owned by the Baptists and "Christians." Soil good, and deep.

BOIS D'ARC, WEST
The first settlement in this township was made by John Hendershott, at the head of Macoupin Creek, about the year 1825. This was one of the first settlements made in the county. Mr. Hendershott's wife was the first death in the township. In his family also was the first birth. Lewis Thomas and Samuel Thomas made the fourth entry made, in 1850. From 1852 to 1856 there settled in the northern, central and western parts the two Thomases mentioned, Absalom Clark, Prior Witt, John Jones, William Smith, Joseph Smith, Anthony Almond, John War, Frank Dunkley, Mark Risley, William Everts and father; Joseph Evert settled in the southern part. George Rice entered land in the western part, where he afterward bought and settled.
Hiram J. Young was the first justice of the peace - appointed in 1862. Jasper Witt was the first constable. Jackson Boyles built the first blacksmith shop, yet used. The first successful hedging was upon the farms of Lewis Thomas, Samuel Thomas, and Absalom Clark: hence the name of the township.
The first marriage was Andrew Armstrong and Miss Martha L. Everts. The first church was organized by the Methodists, at the schoolhouse on section 24, about the year 1865.
The first house built was the one occupied by Mr. Hendershott. The second was a small house put up by Samuel Thomas and Absalom Clark, on the premises of Mr. Thomas. The lumber was hauled from Greene County.
Within this township is found the best land of the county. Originally it was all prairie, with the exception of one or two small groves. There are now several "cultivated" groves, - some large farms, and considerable stock-growing. Contains good school-houses, and has some three church-houses in prospect.


BOIS D'ARC, EAST
The first improvement made in this township was made by an Irishman by the name of James McConnell, on section 7. The premises were first occupied by a German, by the name of Sedgewick. Peter Christopher and his brother Joseph were the first citizen settlers (section 4), in the spring of 1854. They yet remain on the farms first improved. During the next five years came Albert Clayton, John and William Price, and James Woodward.
A little later, William Garrison, Henry Weston, Henry Hathaway, William King, and Michael Samison. Cornelius and George Lyman settled in the southern part about the same time the Christophers settled in the northern part. The first school-house, called the "Prairie Dell," was built about 1857, on section 4. It was a log structure. Here the first school was taught by Miss Sallie Goodrich. It was afterwards occupied by Samuel Laird, Miss Sarah Gale, Miss Mary Harlan, Mr. Charles Waters, and then again by Miss Harlan, when it was sold to private parties. Next a frame school-house was put up at White Oak, where Miss Harlan taught the first term. John Blaisier built the first blacksmith shop.
The first marriage was John Murry and Miss Mary Williamson, about 1862.
They were married by Rev. John Nicodemas, at the residence of Joseph Christopher.
Mary, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Christopher, was the first born, about 1855. John, son of Peter and Elizabeth Christopher, was the first death - September 25, 1856. The first sermon was preached by Rev. Levin Harlan, a Meth-odist, at the residence of William King.
The first church was a Methodist Society, organized by Rev. Samuel Lily, at the Prairie Dell school-house.
The township was originally all prairie. Has now some cultivated groves. Soil is very rich. Well supplied with schools.
We are indebted for our data to an intelligent member of a noted family (Judge Rountree), whose history must ever be the most creditably identified with the history of Montgomery County.



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