Quiver Township History

This from a book about Mason County History and covers circa 1834-1880.


next week- Manito Township



Fifty years ago half a century ! A period of time that measures off the birth, growth and decay of almost two successive generations of mankind ! Fifty years ago ! Since then, what mighty changes have marked the onward march of time in this great and growing West Cities have been builded,vast areas, even in our own State, populated, and large portions of its territory,reclaimed from native wildness, have been brought to a high state of cultivation and made to yield abundant harvests of plenty to the toiling husbandman.

Within these years, the nation has been convulsed from its center to its circumference with the throes of civil war. Te patriot son of the sturdy old pioneer has gone forth to battle in his country’s cause, but his return comes not at setting of the sun. Thousands of homes have been made desolate by the cruel ravages of war in our own fair land, but the nation’s honor has again been sealed by the blood of her noble and daring sons.

Fifty years ago, not a single cabin had been erected in the territory now included in Quiver Townships Indeed, it is not definitely known that more than a single family had settled within the limits comprising the present county of Mason. This township is located in the extreme northwest corner of the county, and comprises in its area about fifty sections. It is bounded on the north and northwest by Tazewell County and the Illinois River ; east by Manito and Forest City Townships ; south by Sherman and Havana Townships, and west by the Illinois River. By far the larger portion of the township is prairie, the timber-land being, for the most part, confined to the western section along the river bluff. A limited amount of timber is found in the northeast cor- ner of the township, the outskirts of what is known as Long Point timber.

The character of the soil is similar to that of the adjacent townships. The western part is somewhat broken, often rising into bold, rounded bluffs and ridges of sand. The woodland portion is not very productive ; it does not afford pasturage, nor, when cleared and cultivated, does it yield as abundant harvests as the prairie land. The central and southern portions are very fertile, and annually produce large crops of corn, wheat, rye and oats, though corn is the staple product.

Clear Lake and Mud Lake are found in the northwest corner of the township. Duck Lake, an expansion of Vibarger Slough, is situated in the southwestern portion of the township. Quiver Creek is the only stream of any consequence flowing through the township. This stream enters the township at its eastern boundary, flowing in a general southwestern direction through Sections 28, 29 and 30. Near the western boundary line of Section 30, its course changes to the northwest, and from this point the stream forms the dividing line between Havana and Quiver Townships. The township received its name from the water-course, of which we have just spoken. The creek is said to have been named by early huntsmen from Menard and Fulton
Counties. At certain seasons of the year, standing a short distance back from the banks of the stream, one was enabled, by gently swaying the body to and fro, to impart a wave-like or quivering motion to the surface for some distance around him. From this it early acquired the name of Quiver land, and to the stream, naturally enough, the name Quiver Creek was applied. While it is a small and unimportant stream, it was made to subserve a large and important interest in the early settlement of the county. On the south bank of the stream, near the northeast corner of Havana Township, Pollard Simmonds erected a small grist-mill as early as 1838 or 1839. But as the mill is now included in the limits of Havana, a full account of the enterprise will be given in the history of that township.

Though a settlement had been made west of the creek as early as 1835 or 1836, no one had ventured to cross the stream and locate in what is now Quiver Township prior to 1837. John Barnes, from Kentucky, had located at the Mounds as early as the first mentioned date. Of his wife it may be truthfully said that she was a faithful helpmeet. She was a woman possessed of great
muscular strength, and could wield an ax as skillfully as an experienced woodman. With an ordinary amount of exertion, she could turn off her one hundred and fifty rails per day. At his home, Joseph Lybarger and family, the first settler of Quiver Township, stopped some weeks prior to crossing the creek and starting his improvement. Lybarger was from Pennsylvania, and
was a blacksmith by trade.

The exact date of his settlement cannot be fixed to a certainty, but it is more than probable that it occurred in the spring of 1837. There are some who think it may have been as early as the summer of 1836, but the preponderating weight of testimony is in favor of the first mentioned date. Soon after coming, he opened a shop, and for a number of years did the work of general blacksmithing for a large scope of country. In the summer of 1837, Henry Seymour came and settled east of Lybarger’s. About one month later, Peter Ringhouse, who had been stopping a short time in St. Louis, came and settled about midway between the ones already mentioned, though a short distance further west. Ringhouse was originally from Germany, but had lived some years in Baltimore before coming West. William Atwater came from Connecticut, and located in the immediate neighborhood in 1838.

He had served an apprenticeship and for a number of years had followed the silversmith’s trade. He erected a frame building, doubtless the first in the township, and began improving his farm. For some two years after coming, he led the life of a bachelor, and farmed with about the usual amount of success that all old bachelors are permitted to enjoy. The climate did not seem to agree with his constitution, and for some considerable length of time he was annoyed with chills and fever. So thoroughly dissatisfied did he become at one time, that he determined to exchange the best eighty acres of his quarter section for a horse and wagon, and the tail-end of a stock of goods in Havana.

These latter articles he intended to peddle through the country, and with the proceeds and avails he hoped to be able to flee the country and make good his return to his native State. But he was destined to become one of the early permanent settlers of Quiver Township, however slow he might be to accept the situation. On communicating his intentions to one of his neighbors, he
remonstrated with him at the folly of his proposition, and suggested the propriety of his taking a helpmeet and beginning life in earnest. Mr. Atwater acted upon the suggestion, and what we know is. that not many months after- ward, Miss Elizabeth Ringhouse became Mrs. Elizabeth Atwater. The alliance thus consummated led to a life of happiness and prosperity. He continued to live at the place of his first settlement till the date of his decease, which occurred some eight or ten years ago. His widow yet survives him, and occupies the old homestead. John Seeley, William Patterson, and a man by the name of Edwards, settled further north along the edge of the bluff timber as early as 1840 or 1841. Isaac Parkhurst settled near Quiver Creek in the southwest corner of the township, in 1840, and was a Justice of the Peace when this section was included in Tazewell County. He remained but a few years, and then moved to Peoria.




W. F. BRUNING, farmer; P. 0. Forest City; was born near Bremen, Germany,
Feb. 5, 1822; when about 18 years of age, he shipped on board the German whaleship Izaria, bound for Greenland, where the crew engaged in catching whales and seals ; the Izaria sailed within a very short distance of the most northern point known at that
time. Mr. Bruning followed the sea for several years, visiting many different parts of
the world, and seeing many curious sights. In 1848, be came to Illinois, and, in the
following year, located on the farm where he now resides. June 18, 1841, he married Miss Magdelain Allebrand in New York City ; they have seven children, six of
them boys Elizabeth J., Fred L., Harman G., Ira W., Henry T., William A. and
George A. Mr. Bruning assisted in organizing the first Sunday school in this part of
the country, and is a consistent member, of the Baptist Church. He owns a fine farm
of 160 acres situated near Forest City, 111.

GEORGE W. DUNN, physician, Forest City; son of Richard and Ann (Wilkinson) Dunn. His father was born at Gales, Yorkshire, England, in 1806 and died
in 1875 ; he was a shoemaker. His mother was a daughter of James and Letitia Wilkinson, of England, was born in 1809 and is still living, in England. They had four
children, all of whom survive, viz., James, living at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, who
is general freight agent of the Trafalgar Street Station ; Jane, living in Richmond,
England ; Ann, married and living in Edinburgh, Scotland ; and the subject of our
sketch, who was born June 29, 1841, in Richmond, Yorkshire, England ; he early
attended school at the national and corporation schools in Richmond; in 1854, he was
appointed as pupil teacher in the national school, in which he served five years. He
passed a yearly examination ; in 1860, he came to Massachusetts and engaged for six months in a woolen mill ; leaving there, he assisted in the office of the American Temperance Union, at New York, for some time, and afterward engaged in charge of the
M. E. Church, at Milburn, N. J.; in September, 1861, he was received into the North
Ohio Conference of the M. E. Church, and, in 1863, was ordained Deacon and, in 1865,
Elder. He was married, Sept. 10, 1863, to Kate Shaffner, daughter of Martin and
Susannah ShafFner, of Pennsylvania ; her father was born in 1787 and died in 1870 ; her mother was born in 1809 and died in 1850; both were members of the M. E. Church, he for sixty-five years. Mrs. Dunn was born April 4,1841. In 1865, the Doctor
moved to Missouri and settled in Knox Co., engaging in the ministry and practicing
medicine; in 1869, he moved to Barton Co., Mo., and continued in the ministry and
practicing, afterward moving to Jasper Co., Mo., continuing the same avocations ; in 1871-72, he attended the Eclectic Medical College, at Cincinnati. Ohio, was valedic- torian of the class and graduated in the spring of 1872; he returned and continued
his practice at Georgia City, Jasper Co., Mo.; he afterward moved to Newton Co., Mo..
practicing there some time, and thence to Barton Co., in 1876 ; he still continued his professions, and, while there, was made President of Barton County Sabbath School
Association for two terms; they then located at Forest City, 111., July 12, 1877,
where they have been ever since ; he still continues his practice and is doing a lucrative business. He not only devotes his time to his profession but throws his soul into the duties of the Sabbath school, church and temperance movement, which should be
the effort of every physician who expects the smile of Providence on his labors. He
is now Vice President of the Sabbath School Association of Forest City Township
and was chose”n lay delegate to the Illinois Conference of the M. E. Church for 1879 ; he and his wife retain their membership in the M. E. Church at Forest City ; he has
been a member of the Missouri State Eclectic Medical Society and is at present a member of the Illinois Eclectic Medical Society ; he was also Corresponding Secretary of
the Missouri Medical Association. They have five children Harry W., A. Lincoln,
Kingsley G , Anna K., and Richard Martin deceased in February, 1879.

GEORGE HIMMEL, farmer ; P. O. Bishop’s Station ; is a brother of J. W. C. and T. F. Himuiel, whose sketches appear elsewhere in this work ; he was born Dec. 11,
1835, in Germany, and in 1846 he came with the family to Mason Co., 111., making
their first settlement in Quiver Township, on the farm now occupied by T. F. Himmel ; he remained there until married Sept. 14, 1859, to Elizabeth Haas, daughter of Carl
Gumbel, of .Germany, a blacksmith. They soon settled on her farm of 200 acres
in Spring Lake Township, remaining there eleven years, and then moved to Forest City
Township, and settled there on 160 acres, partly inherited by his father; they have in
all 520 acres, probably worth 50 per acre. In 1864, he was licensed as a local preacher of the Evangelical Association ; he has had nine children Elmira, Katie E.,
Charles E., Annie, George A., Henry, Mary, Frank and an infant deceased ; all belong
to Church. Mr. Himmel has been connected with the school offices, and has been Superintendent of Sabbath schools. Though his sun is now declining in the western horizon, he
enjoys good health, and is quite active for his years. Faithful and reliable in all his
relations of life, he bids fair for more extended usefulness in the country where he

MRS. LOIS A. INGERSOLL, farmer ; P. O. Forest City ; widow of the lateSamuel Hinkley Ingersoll, who was born in Hinckley, Medina Co., Ohio, Dec. 20, 1828. At
the age of 21, he went with the rush of emigration that swept westward to California in 1849, and there remained until 1855 ; upon his return, he went into the commission
business in Chicago, 111., where he remained for about a year. In 1856, he moved to
a farm about five miles south of Forest City, Mason Co. He was united in marriage
with Miss Lois A. Van Orman, Dec. 13, 1858 ; Mrs. Ingersoll is a native of Medina Co.,
Ohio. They had ten children, seven of whom are living, three boys and four girls. When Mason Co. was first organized, under township organization, Mr. Ingersoll was
elected the first Supervisor of what was then Mason Plains Township, now Forest City
Township, and was re-elected, year after year, with a few exceptions, during the remainder of his life ; he died in the prime of life, deeply mourned by all who knew him, Nuv.
30, 1877. The estate comprises 1,060 acres of as fine farming land as can be found in Mason Co. Mrs. Ingersoll has, with rare business tact, succeeded in managing her large
farms admirably well.

JOSIAH JACKSON, carpenter and builder, Forest City ; was born in Seneca
Co., Ohio, May 8, 1834, where he remained until he arrived at manhood. He married
Miss Mary A. Beard Jan. 6, 1856. In the spring of 1857, they left their home i Ohio and came to Illinois, locating in Vandalia, where he worked at his trade as carpenter for four years. He then removed to the place where Forest City now stands, and
immediately went to work at his trade. Mr. Jackson built the first two dwelling-houses
in Forest City. He.continued to work at his trade here for a year and a half, when he
returned with his family to his old home in Ohio, and resumed his accustomed occupation. May 2, 1864, he enlisted in Co. B, 169th Ohio V. I., and was mustered out of
the service in the following September ; he then returned to his family in Ohio. Again
the little family took their way to Illinois, where he found employment as a school
teacher, immediately after his arrival. Mr. Jackson entered into the mercantile business,
but met with reverses that caused him to abandon it, and resume his old occupation of
carpenter and builder, in which he is still engaged. He was elected Justice of the Peace
in 1866, and again in 1874 ; he has held a commission as Notary Public for twelve
years in Forest City ; for the last ten years, he has devoted all his spare time to the
study of the law, and is occasionally engaged in the pracrice of that profession, with a
fair degree of success. With the usual amount of study and practice, he is bound to succeed in this profession. Mr. Jackson has just been awarded the contract for building
the schoolhouse at Manito, which is a capital indorsement of his capacity and energy
as a business man. They have been blessed with four children Eva D., born May 28,
1857; B. Fuller, Aug. 28, 1860; Sherman G., Jan. 22, 1865; Rutherford, Oct. 3, 1876.

HELENE KREILING, farmer; P. 0. Bishop’s Station; was born September
25, 1821, in Germany; her father’s name was Harman Wittc; she came to Illinois in 1850
and in 1852, was married to B. H. Kreiling. who was born in Germany and came to Illinois about 1 850 ; they settled for some time on a farm near Havana ; in 1854, they bought and settled on the present farm of 180 acres, which they have improved and made of fine quality. Mr. Kreiling held offices connected with the
schools, and was a member of the Lutheran Church; he died April 1, 1879, leaving a wife and nine children Harman, Anna, Henry, Maggie, Mary, Liddie, John, August
and George. They are all members of the Lutheran Church.

ZACHARIAH MILLER, farmer ; P. 0. Forest City ; like many other citizens of Mason Co., Mr. Miller was born in the adjoining territory, which is now Menard
Co.; he was born Aug. 24, 1823, near where Athens now stands. He married Miss
Nancy Cogdall, a native of Kentucky, Sept. 5, 1845 ; they have eight boys and two
girls, all living except the eldest son, Nult, who died in 1872 ; their births were as fol- lows : Minerva, Aug. 3, 1846 ; Nult, Oct. 5, 1848 ; Hardin, March 13, 1851 ; Sidney,
Nov. 7, 1852; Mahala, Jan. 19, 1854; Simeon, Dec. 25, 1856; Clinton, Feb. 25,
1859 ; Austin, Dec. 27, 1860 ; Terry, Aug. 14, 1863 ; Holley, Sept, 3, 1865. When
Mr. Miller, with his wife and one baby, came to Mason Co., in 1846, his worldly pos- sessions consisted of a horse and cow. Mr. Miller now owns 200 acres of good farm
land in the vicinity of Forest City, Mason Co., 111.; he now resides in the village of
Forest City.

ELI T. NEIKIRK, station agent, Forest City; born in Washington Co., Md.,
Sept. 6, 1828 ; moved to the present site of Forest City in 1853 ; his wife’s maiden name was Olivia G. Beard ; they have had four children Clyde G. (who is now sta- tion agent on the P., P. & J. R. R., at Pekin, 111.), Charles Otho (telegraph operator
and railroad book-keeper, at Forest City, 111.), and the two younger children, Laura D. and Don Juan. He was elected Justice of the Peace in 1857, and served four years. He enlisted as a private in Co. K, 85th I. V. I., and was commissioned Second Lieutenant by Gov. Yates May 26, 1863 ; the regiment was engaged in many severe battles,
and closed their military career with the memorable march to the sea under Gen. Sherman ; he was mustered out in 1865, having served nearly three years. On his return
to Forest City, he opened a grocery store and restaurant, which he conducted for nine years ; he was appointed station agent on the P., P. & J. R. R., at Forest City,
which position he now holds ; he owns 240 acres of fine land in the vicinity of Forest City.

T. G. ONSTOT, merchant,- Forest City ; was born in Sugar Grove, in what is now
Menard Co. His father settled in that section in 1824, being one of the very first set- tlers of Sangamon Co. The Onstot family moved to New Salem, on the Sangamon
lliver, in 1831. At this time, the timber-lands along the Sangamon and Salt Creek were full of roving Indians. The family remained at New Salem, where the elder Mr.
Onstot kept the village tavern, until 1840. Abraham Lincoln boarded at this house
when he began his first law studies with Squire Green, and made his home with the
Onstot family for two years, during which time young Lincoln practiced surveying in the surrounding country. Mr. Lincoln and the elder Mr. Onstot were warm friends as long as they lived. In 1840, the town of New Salem was moved bodily two miles north, to the present site of the city of Petersburg, which was made the county seat of
Menard Co. The Onstot family moved their buildings with the rest to the new town,
where they resided until 1847, when they went to Havana, where they remained until 1852. Mr. Onstot, the subject of this sketch, was married to Miss Sarah L. Ellsworth
March 18, 1852. Immediately after their marriage, they moved upon a piece of raw prairie, three miles from the nearest house, where, by hard work and frugal habits, they
contrived to improve their farm and make some advance in prosperity. Mr. Onstot lived on this farm for thirteen years, when he moved to Forest City, and engaged in the lumber business, and still continues in this line of trade. In the spring of 1879, he formed a partnership with George W. Pemberton, under the firm name of Geo. W. Pemberton
& Co , and engaged in a general merchandise business. Mr. and Mrs. Onstot have had six children, three of whom are living Ella C., born May 6, 1859, died Dec. 20, 1878;
Mary E., Susan E. and Lulu C. They also have an adopted son. Mr. Onstot has served the people of Forest City Township as Tax-Collector for four years, and Justice
of the Peace four years.

SAMUEL T. WALKER ; P. 0. Forest City ; was born in Adair Co., Ky., Jan.
30, 1830. At the age of 23, he left his native State, coming directly to Mason Co.,
where he worked on a farm one year. The next few months were passed in a cabinet
shop in Havana. In 1855, Mr. Walker removed to Spring Lake, where he assisted his brother John, who was engaged in a general merchandise business, for about three years. In 1858, Mr. Walker, in company with his brother and three other young men, made
the memorable trip to Pike’s Peak, with the usual degree of success, being absent about
six months. Upon his return, in 1860, Mr. Walker went into partnership with Mr. A.
Cross, in the grain, lumber and general merchandise business, at Forest City, 111., which
business was continued for several years. Mr. Walker was united in marriage with
Miss Julia A. Fosket April 13, 1863. They have had eight children, one boy and
seven girls, three of whom are still living, as follows : Esther E., born Sept. 1’2, 1864 ; Polly
S., April 1, 1874; Patsey Y., April 7, 1878. Mr. Walker owns a fine residence in Forest City, and about one hundred acres of good farming land in the vicinity of the
village. He has been Clerk of Forest City Township for twelve years, and was elected Supervisor in 1878, and re-elected in 1879.

JAS. S. WALKER, physician and surgeon. Forest City. Dr. Walker was born
at Walker’s Grove, in what was then Sangatnon County, May 4, 1839, being one of the
first white children born in that part of the country. At the aj;e of 19, he began the
study of medicine with Dr. Dieffenbacher, at Havana, and in the fall of 1860, entered
Lind Medical College, now the Chicago Medical College, and graduated in 1863; he
then began practice in the same neighborhood where he was born and raised at Walker’s Grove ; he practiced there for three years, with very flattering success. In 1865, he formed a partnership with Dr. Hall, and engaged in practice in Mason City.
This partnership lasted for two years, when he became a partner with Dr. J. C. Patterson ; this lasted until 1869, when Dr. W. removed to Forest City, where he now
resides. He was married to Miss Sarah E. Updike, a native of Trcniout, Tazewell Co.;
111., Aug. 16, 1864. They have had four children, three of whom are living Alma,
March 12, 1866; Ella, Jan. 4, 1868; Frank U., Dec. 22, 1869; Artie, March 16,
1874, died when a little more than a year old. The Doctor enjoys a large and lucrative
practice in Forest City and the surrounding country.

MRS. L. C. WHITAKER, farmer; P. 0. Forest City; was born in Adair Co., Ky., Feb. 22, 1836, her maiden name being L. C. Cheek. She was married to Mr. John B. Whitaker Sept. 22, 1857. Mr. Whitaker was born May 13, 1826, in Muskingum Co., Ohio, and removed to Winchester, 111., in 1849 ; he removed to Mason Co.,
upon the farm now occupied by Mrs. W., in 1852. She has five children living Henry, born Oct. 27, 1858; Mary, Oct. 15, 18’U ; James and William, twins, born
July 16, 1864; Reuben, Aug. 23, 1871. Mr. Whitaker died in 1872. Since her husband’s death, Mrs. Whitaker has carried on her farm, with the help of her children,
with good success. They own about 200 acres, situated one and a half miles south of Forest City.




1859- c. 1880

The village of Forest City was surveyed, in 1859, by J. F. Coppel and Alexander Cross, for Walker, Kemp, Wright and Waggenseller. The original
plat contained forty-seven acres. An addition of forty acres lying east of the original town was made in 1865 by D. S. Broderic. The lines of original sur- vey were run north and south, but were never recorded. The plat, as recorded, lie; parallel with the railroad line. The village is located seventeen miles dis- tant from Pekin and thirteen from Havana. It was, at one time,quite an extensive grain mart, but the growth of Mason City on the east, and points on the I., B. & W. R. R., south, have deducted largely from the amount of its annual
shipments. Alexander Cross built the first residence on the town site, and occupied it in the latter part of 1859. The house is still standing, and has
been converted into an office by Dr. James S. Walker. Thomas H. Ellsworth built a residence and became a denizen of the place in 1860. Josiah Jackson,
S. T. Walker, T. A. Gibson, E. T. Neikirk and others were among the earliest citizens of the place..

Cross & Walker built the first storeroom and began merchandising in 1861. In 1864, or 1865, Rodgers & Bros., built the second
store-building in the village and opened up a stock of general merchandise. The business interests of the village continued to grow till, at one time, it had
four good stores in full blast. In 1861, Messrs. Cross & Walker built a grain warehouse and began purchasing grain. The grain trade increased so rapidly
that in 1864 they built an elevator at a cost of $6,000. It has a capacity for storage of 40,000 bushels. The grain interests of the village, at present, are looked after by S. T. Walker, agent for Smith, Hippen & Co., of Pekin, and Z. Miller. The annual amount handled approximates 250,000 bushels. Quite an amount of hogs and cattle are shipped from this point. The trade and traffic of the village reaches, perhaps, $40,000 per annum.

The post office was established in 1861, and Alexander ‘Cross was appointed Postmaster. He received his commission from Montgomery Blair as Postmaster General. Mr. Cross has
acted continuously from his first appointment down to the present time, and has been efficient and accommodating, as might readily be inferred from his long continuation in office. A neat frame school building, two stories high, was erected in 1877, at a cost of $1,500. This is the pride and ornament of the village, and is a fitting
monument to the liberality of the citizens of the district, who submitted to a heavy taxation in order to secure the building. The M. E. Church, the only
house of worship in the village, was erected in 1863 or 1864. Rev. S. B. Hirsey was the first Pastor. It is a neat frame building, pleasantly situated in a small grove in the western portion of the village. It has a membership of about fifty souls, who meet regularly for worship. A fine and flourishing Sunday school is held in connection with its services. Dr. George Mastiller was
the first physician to locate in the town, as well as the first in the township.

E. N. Nichols, M. D., was also in the township quite early. The former is at present a resident of Kansas, and the latter, some years ago, took up his abode
in Missouri. Drs. James S. Walker and G. W. Dunn are at present resident physicians, each well skilled in his profession, and enjoying a good practice. A
Lodge of Good Templars was organized in 1865. The charter members were Thomas H. Ellsworth and wife, T. G. Onstot, Josiah Jackson and wife, T. A.
Gibson and wife, Miss Sarah Ellsworth, and others whose names could not be obtained. In February, 1867, the hall in which the lodge meetings were held was consumed by fire, and the Lodge soon after became extinct. Forest City Lodge, No. 246, I. 0. G. T., was organized Jan. 27, 1879, by J. Q. Detwiler, State Deputy. A charter was granted to Thomas A. Gibson and wife, Josiah
Jackson, George W. Pemberton, Mrs. Nancy Cross, Susie Cross, G. W. Neikirk, Harry Dunn, Lydia Ellsworth, Mary Ellsworth, Solomon Nikirk, Lillie Neikirk, Lizzie Neikirk, W. D. Thomas, E. E. Bird, Ira W. Bruning, Isaac Beard and William F. Bruning as charter members. The Lodge is in fine working order, and, at present, has a membership of about sixty-five. Regular meetings occur on Saturday evening of each week.

A substantial iron bridge, erected at a cost of from $1,800 to $2,000, spans Quiver Creek, just south of the village. In the winter of 1876, the citizens
constructed a gravel road from the village to, and for some distance beyond, the bridge. The gravel was obtained at Mackinaw, the P., P. & J. R. R. furnishing transportation free, and for once, at least, disproving the oft-repeatedassertion that railroad corporations have no souls. The neat and substantial passenger depot at this point, under the management of Mr. E. T.
Neikirk & Son, is an ornament to the town and a credit to the officials of the road. Forest City Township has been largely Republican in her political complexion since the earliest formation of the party. In the days when the old Whig and Democratic parties vied with each other for supremacy,
this ” district ” could always be relied upon for a handsome Whig majority.

During these latter years, the Republican party has held the field whenever
party lines were strictly drawn. At the outbreaking of the late civil strife, her
loyal sons were not slow in attesting their fealty and devotion to the Stars and
Stripes. At each and every call, she furnished her full quota, and no draft was made upon her patriotic citizens to fill up the oft-depleted ranks of the
patriot army. Many of her noble boys are taking their long, deep sleep in
Southern soil, beneath a Southern sun, far from the spot of their early child- , hood. They fell in the discharge of duty and in the defense of their country’s
honor. Fond fathers and loving mothers cherish with fondest delight the
memory of the brave boys whose lives were offered a willing sacrifice upon
their nation’s altar. Of such we may say, in the poet’s fitting strain :
“Soldier, rest! thy warfare’s o’er, Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking ; Dream of battle-fields no inore,
Days of danger, nights of waking.”
Forty years ago, Forest City Township was without an inhabitant. Now
her surface is thickly studded with comfortable homes, and thrift and enterprise
greet us on every hand. Her citizens are alive to every movement that tends
to advance the interests of their section, and her annual productions rank sec- ond to but few townships in the county. Bishop Station, a small village on the
P., P. & J. R. R., three miles southwest of Forest City, was laid out for Henry
Bishop in the spring of 1875. The post office was established in 1871, four
years prior to the date of laying out the town. A grain elevator, two general
stores and a blacksmith-shop comprise the business buildings of the village.
These, with some half-dozen residences, include all that there is in the town.

We have been able to obtain but very little of its history, though diligent
inquiry has been made. Its citizens have been backward in giving us anything
like a connected history of the place, laboring, perhaps, under the misapprehension that we were desirous of buying the town at the present low ruling
price, and not recognizing the fact that we were simply desirous of obtaining
data from which to compile a historical sketch of the place. However, the
prospects for its rapid development into a village of any considerable importance
is not, at present, very flattering. Its location about midway between Forest
City and Topeka precludes the possibility of its ever being more than a point
of local interest.


Much the same surroundings and inconveniences greeted the early settlers
of this township as did those of Manito and other adjacent portions of the
county. Their marketing had to be done a long way from home, and the time
required for getting their crops to market was almost equal in length to that
required to raise them. Their principal trading-points were Havana, Mackinaw
and Pekin. Their milling was done at Mackinaw or across the river in Fulton
County. The journey to Mackinaw consumed four or five days, governed
somewhat by the length of time they had to wait for a “grist” to be ground.
Simmonds built a mill on Quiver Creek, in quite an early day, and a few years
later, McHarry’s Mill, on the same stream, was erected, so that those coming
in a few years subsequent to the date of the earliest settlements made in the
township, were denied the exquisite pleasure of going to mill at Mackinaw, and
on Spoon River, in Fulton County. While there were many inconveniences
and hardships to be endured by the early settlers, they had many things of
which we cannot boast to-day. They had game of almost all kinds, which could
be had for the simple act of killing. It did not require hunting, for there was
a superabundance on every hand. Alexander Cross states that on one occasion,
he counted forty deer in a single herd, as they rose up one at a time, and then
they began getting up so fast that he could not keep the run of them any longer.
Thomas H. Ellsworth takes the ” trick ” and goes fifty-six bettsr. Wild game
of all kinds was so abundant that the farmer did not dare to cut up his corn in
the fall and place it in shocks ; if he did he was sure to come out in the spring
minus one-third to one-half of his crop. The marshes and sand hills around
the head of Quiver Creek were famous hunting-grounds in an early day. But
the march of civilization, the dense settling-up of the country and its improvement into fine and productive farms, have driven out all the larger kinds of game,
and we have nothing left save that which is commonly found in the older settled
portions of our country. Vast and mighty changes have come upon us during
the forty years last past. Forest City Township has never had a grist-mill
erected within her borders. McHarry’s, in Quiver, and Shanholtzer’s. in Manito, supply the deficiency. The Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville Railroad, put in
operation in 1859, is the only railroad line in the township. It passes diagonally through the northwest corner of the township, in a southwestern direction,
giving to it about four miles of track.

The ‘first preaching, as was customary, was at the houses of the pioneers,
and among those who ministered to the spiritual wants of the people in an
early day, we find the names of Revs. Gardner, Rutledge, Randall, and the
venerable Peter Cartwright. These were missionaries in the M. E. Church.
Rev. William Perkins, a Presbyterian divine, occasionally preached in the
township, but was regularly engaged in the work at Topeka. Transient ministers of other denominations discoursed at times to the people, but none
remained to effect church organization save the Methodists. After the building of schoolhouses, preaching was transferred to them, and they were made to serve the triple purpose of meeting-house, schoolhouse and voting-place for the
precinct. The first school building erected in the township was the one now
known as Union No. 1, and is situated about one and one-half miles south oi the village of Forest City. It was built in 1854, and John Covington was the
first teacher. Others were built as the increase of population demanded, and
at present each district is supplied with good frame buildings. The ”
old log schoolhouse ” of the days of auld lang syne has faded away, and comes to us only in visions of the past.

The first Sunday school organized in the township was at the house of
Thomas H. Ellsworth, in the spring of 1853. William Ellsworth was the first Superintendent. It continued at the residence of Mr. Ellsworth till the building of the schoolhouse in 1854, when it was transferred to that point. It finally became the nucleus of the first Sunday school established in the village.
A number of those who took part in the first organization are at present resi- dents of the village, and take a lively interest in the Sunday-school cause. There are two church edifices in the township outside of the village the German Methodist, or Albright, and the German Lutheran, or Lutheran Evangelical. The Albright Church was erected in 1856, and, as the congregation grew in numbers, the building in a few years became too small to accommodate it. In 1865, they rebuilt and greatly increased the size of their house. The
Church owns forty acres of valuable land, and upon this stands the church
building and parsonage. A neatly laid-out and kept cemetery also occupies a
portion of the tract. Their Church property has an estimated value of not less than $7,000. It is, perhaps, the wealthiest congregation in Mason County.
Most of its members are well-to-do farmers, living in this and adjacent townships. The building is located on a gentle rise of ground, from which a com- manding view of the country may be had on all sides ; its tall, white spire, pointing heavenward, presents a pleasing appearance to the traveler passing over the line of the P., P. J. Railroad. The Lutheran Church was built a year or two later, is in the same portion of the township, about one and one-half miles south of Bishop’s Station. It is also a frame church, and cost about $1,200.
Regular services are held, and a flourishing Sunday school is connected with it.

Forest City Township has a large per cent of German population, and, as
is usually the case, they are thriving, enterprising citizens, possessed of finely – improved farms, well stocked. Taken throughout its whole extent, this town
ship compares favorably with other portions of the county in. its adaptation to the growth of corn and the other cereals common to this latitude.

History of Forest City Township



Forest City Township Part 1 of 4

This township is known as Town 22 north, Ranges 6 and 7 west of the Third
Principal Meridian. It is bounded north and east by Manito Township, south
by Pennsylvania and Sherman Townships, and west by Quiver Township. It
is the smallest of the thirteen civil townships into which the county has been
divided, and comprises a little more than thirty-one sections in its area. In
surface configuration, it is very similar to the adjacent townships of Manito and
Quiver. Timber-land is found only in the northwest corner of the township.

Fully five-sixths of its entire surface is prairie land, most of which is very productive The soil is similar in character to that found in general throughout
the whole extent of the county a rich, brown mold, freely intermixed with sand. The proportions of clay, etc., intermingled, vary somewhat in different
localities some being far more argillaceous than others. In the woodland portions, the surface often arises into bold, round bluffs, with mound-appearing
escarpments so common to the landscape further south along the Illinois River.

Quiver Creek, a small stream flowing in a general southwestern direction through the township, take? its rise near the village of Forest City and leaves
the township near the northwest corner of Section 27. This, with artificial ditches constructed leading into it, efficiently drains a large amount of the prairie portion of the township. In 1862, when township organization was effected, this division received the name of Mason Plains. Prior to this, it had
been designated as Mason Plains Precinct a name given by the early Methodist ministers to their appointments in this section. This name it continued
to bear until 1873, when, by an act of the Board of Supervisors, it was changed to that of Forest City Township. The reason for the change existed in the
fact that difficulties and perplexities often arose in the shipment of matter, intended for Mason Plains, to Mason City, in the southeastern portion of the county.

So far as we have been able to learn, there were no settlements made in the limits of the township prior to 1840. Robert Cross and family came from
New Jersey and settled in Greene County, 111., as early as 1839. In 1842, Alexander, a son of Robert, came to Mason County and settled in Quiver
Township, about a mile east of McHarry’s Mill. During the summer, he frequently passed over this section of the county, and from his statements we
learn that, at that time, there were but five houses standing in what is now Forest City Township. These were all in the edge of the timber, in the northwest corner of the township. Four of them were occupied, and the following named persons are given as their occupants : A. Wintrow, Peter Himmel, A.
File and Stephen Hedge. Wintrow came in 1840, and was, doubtless, the first man to make an improvement in the township. Mr. Cross thinks that Himmel,
File and Hedge all came in 1842, while Jerry Miller, who settled, in an early day, across the line in Manito Township, gives it as his opinion that Hedge did
not come prior to 1844. Wintrow, File and Himmel came from ” der Faderland,” and Hedge from Fulton County. The latter is supposed to have come
originally from some one of the Eastern States, as he was a pronounced Abolitionist long before that sentiment found a secure lodgment in this section. The
unoccupied building stood upon Congress land, and had, probably, been erected and occupied by a “bird of passage,” who, after a short sojourn, plumed his
wings and took his flight to regions farther west. Hedge, after a residence of some years, returned to Fulton County, of which he continued a resident up to the date of his death. Peter Himmel is the only one of the four now living. In the same neighborhood, at the time of which we are writing, there were
living old man Ray, Riley Morris, Abel Maloney, and a few others just across the line in Manito Township, whose places of settlement and date of coming
have been given in the history of that township. Settlements in the township did not occur rapidly for a number of years, owing to the fact, no doubt, that its available lands were prairie.

About 1846 or 1847, Alexander Pemberton and a man of the name of Babbitt settled on the prairie across Quiver Creek, a short distance
south of the present village of Forest City. They were the first to venture away from the woods. Alexander Cross came up from Quiver Township and
made a settlement in 1848. The same year brought in William G. Greene and his brother, Nult Greene, from Menard County, and William Coolage, from
Tennessee. The Greenes settled south of Quiver Creek, where William G., in a few years, possessed himself of a large tract of land. In 1852, he sold out
his entire landed estate and returned to Menard County. He is now a resident of Tallula, and is engaged in agriculture and in the banking business. His . brother, Nult Greene, removed to McDonough County, of which he is at present a resident. In 1850, the population was increased by the coming of August Webber,
Greensfelter and Harfst. These all settled in the woods in the northwest corner of the township. They were from Germany, and formed the nucleus of the
large German population which now occupies a large portion of the township.
The spring of 1852 brought in William Ellsworth, Thomas H. Ellsworth,William Ellsworth, Jr., Joseph C. Ellsworth and their families. These all came from Fulton County, the three last mentioned being sons of the first, but all men of family. T. G. Onstot, from Menard County, came in the same year, and Fred Lux, from Pennsylvania. Most of them are still residents of
the township. About the same date, George Nikirk came from Seneca County, Ohio, and purchased the landed estate of W. G. Greene, consisting of over two thousand acres. Mr. Niekirk did not live long to enjoy the comforts of his new home. He died in 1855, leaving to his family his large estate. Twenty years later, his wife followed him to the land of shadows, leaving her
children pleasant and comfortable homes, nearly all in sight of the old homestead. The Niekirk brothers are among the most substantial farmers and business men of the township. John Bowser, also a resident of the township, was a Buckeye, from Seneca County, who came at or near the date of the coming
of the Neikirks.

From this date forward, settlements were rapidly made in the various portions of the township. The vast superiority of the prairie land
for agricultural purposes began to be realized, arid the settler no longer sought the shelter of the timber, with its too sandy soil, but pushed boldly out into the open prairie and began his improvements. Coming on down for a year or two, we find the names of William F. Bruning, Garrett Bruning, Carl Grumble, Silas Cheek, Fred Foster, N. Drake, John Martin, and others of whom time and space forbid that we should particularize, other than to say that they were all good, industrious citizens, and, by the improvement of their farms, added
much to the wealth and prosperity of the township. Samuel H. Ingersoll, who became a citizen of Mason County in 1855, deserves more than a passing notice. He was born in Medina County, in 1828. In 1849, he went to California, where he remained till 1855, at which date he became a citizen of Mason County. In 1859, he led to the nuptial altar Miss Lois A. Van Orman, of Ohio, and soon after located on one of those beautiful undulations or prairie-swells a short distance south of Forest City. His business was that of farming and milling, and his rare judgment and business tact rendered both a financial success. His popularity with, and ability to serve, his friends and neighbors may be best attested by the fact that he was called at thirteen different times to a seat in the County Board of Supervisors by the citizens of his township. It was in this position that his judgment and influence were largely useful, not only to his own immediate constituency, but also to the people of Mason County. His death occurred in 1877.

Recently, as a tribute of respect, Mrs. Ingersoll has erected to his memory one of the finest monuments in the county. The site selected for his burial is one of the
finest in this section of the county. It is known upon the public records as the Neikirk Cemetery, and is so situated that it commands a view from all parts of the surrounding country, also from the passing trains on the P., P. & J. Railroad, on which road Mr. Ingersoll was an important shipper, and of which he was an interested friend

next week: Forest City Township


WILLIAM F. AUXIER, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Mason City ; was born
in Floyd Co., Ky., Jan. 26, 1834 ; from the age of 14 to 18 years, he followed boating on the Big Sandy and Ohio Rivers ; all the schooling he received, he got in about three
months, under immeasurable difficulties, though he is now a well-informed, self-edu- cated man, having an excellent faculty of expressing and elucidating any subject, on
any and all occasions ; in business, he has always been successful ; in 1852, he came to Mason Co., and worked here and there farming and herding cattle for wages, until 1855 ; he then commenced on his own account, and in 1856, he took his first lot of fat
cattle to New Yor-k City, being the first ever shipped by cars from Salt Creek Township. Oct. 25, 1859, he married Mary A. Denham ; she was born in Hamilton Co.,
Ohio, in 1839 ; they have three children Emma, born March 20, 1861 ; Clark, Dec.
27, 1863; Cora, Dec. 15, 1865. He owns 400 acres of good land in Salt Creek Township.

ISAAC BELLAS, farmer ; P. 0. Mason City ; was born in Luzerne Co., Penn.,
March 2, 1820 ; his advantages for a common-school education were fair for those
days ; several winters he engaged in teaching district schools, and in the summer worked
at farming. Before he moved West, Nov. 21, 1846, he married Miss Dorcas Benscoter ; she was born in the same county March 17, 1827 ; they moved to Mason Co.,
111., in April. 1854; he worked by the day, farming, until fall, when he put in a crop
of wheat for himself; the next spring, he bought the place where he now resides, in Salt Creek Township ; he has never taken any active part, politically, but has held some
township offices twice Assessor, Collector six years, and School Director ten years ; was elected Justice of the Peace once, but declined the office ; they have had eight
children James, born Oct. 4, 1847, died Sept. 15, 1849; Monemia C., born Sept. 6,
1849, died Oct. 8, 1852; Dyson B., born Jan. 17, 1853, died April 1, 1862; Susanna
E., born May 5, 1857; Sarah A., Dec. 28, 1860, died April 8, 1869; Mary J., born
Aug. 7, 1863; Ross, Feb. 25, 1866; Rosa A., Nov. 19, 1868. He owns a nice farm
of 120 acres; is a Republican, and belongs to the Order of Red Men, in Mason City.

AARON A. BLUNT, President of the First National Bank of Mason City, farmer
and stock-ra iser ; P. 0. Mason City; was born in Hart Co., Ky., Feb. 21, 1831, and
moved to Field’s Prairie, in what is now Bath Township, Mason Co., with his parents, Dec. 6, 1833 ; since his early youth, he has given his attention mainly to farming and
stock-raising; has been a Director in the First National Bank of Mason City since its organization, and was elected its President in February, 1879. He married Martha
Ann Trailer Feb. 26,1852; she was born in Springfield, 111., June 23, 1831; they
have had nine children Laura, born Dec. 12, 1852, died Sept. 18, 1853; Hiram M.,
born March 2, 1854, died June 20, 1855 ; Stephen L., born Sept. 25, 1856; Sinai E. r Jan. 3, 1859; Franklin D., Feb. 23, 1861, died Sept. 30, 1863; Lydia A., born May
9, 1863; Mary I., Nov. 6, 1865; Juliette A., Sept. 21, 1868, died Aug. 10, 1870;
Alonzo A., born March 23, 1872. Mr. Blunt united with the Baptist Church Dec.
16, 1849; was ordained to the ministry, and has held the pastorate of several churches.
His father, Thomas F. Blunt, was born in Kent Co., Md., July 24, 1800, and moved
to Kentucky in his boyhood. Feb. 26, 1822, he married Sinai F. Alderson, of Hart
Co., Ky.; they had eight children, four of whom are living Aaron A., the subject of
this sketch, Lydia F., Hiram and Thomas R. In the fall of 1831, he moved to Cal- away Co., Mo., and in 1832, to what is now ‘Mason Co.; Dec. 6, 1833, he was an
organic or charter member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and is the only male charter member now living in the county; in 1849, unaided and alone, he built a house for school and church purposes, and at his own expense provided a teacher for the ensuing
winter; he bought and used the first power threshing machine, also the first reaper ever used in Mason Co.; the 17th of August, 1872, had an attack of palsy of his right
side, from which he has never recovered. Though infirm and aged, he is living happy
and contented with his youngest son, Thomas R., at Field’s Prairie, in Bath Township,
Mason Co.

HENRY C. BURNHAM, farmer; P. 0. Mason City ; was born in Hampton,
Conn., Jan. 30, 1826. He was educated at home, and also furnished the advantages of
high schools and academies abroad. At the age of 19, he moved to Champaign Co.,
Ohio, and engaged in teaching school for awhile, and finally entered the mercantile business, which being too confining, he sold out and returned to Connecticut. He there
married Miss Angeline Currier Dec. 1(5, 1847. She was born in Genesee Co., N. Y., Dec. 16, 1825.. Her father, Elisha Currier, married Mary Blaisdell Oct. 9, 1817, in New Hampshire, and, in 1823, they moved to Naples, N. Y. Her mother died ( in Woodstock, Ohio, May 15, 1868, aged 73 years ; her father still resides in Woodstock,
in the 87th year of his age. Mr. Burnhani came to Illinois in the fall of 1852, and
settled in Salt Creek Township ; he is a member of and Master of Mason City Lodge,
No. 403, A., F. & A. Masons ; he has been Associate Justice of the County Court ; Treasurer of the school fund many years ; is Supervisor ; though in no sense has he ever been an office-seeker. They have seven children Lora M.,born Oct. 16, 1848 ; Alonzo
F., June 29, 1853 ; Rose A., Oct. 8, 1855 ; James E., January 9, 1857 ; George T.,
Aug.^20, 1860 ; Henry P., Dec. 7, 1862, and Caroline A., July 4, 1866. He owns a fine farm of 320 acres, and a good substantial home with modern improvements and comforts.

ABRAM CEASE, farmer and stock-raiser ; P. 0. Mason City ; was born in Luzerne
Co., Penn., June 6, 1824; he followed farming and lumbering. Married Ellen Wandel
Feb. 13, 1847 ; she was born in the same county Dec. 28, 1826. Her father, James
Wandel, was also born in that county May 3, 1790, and married Lucy Tilbury, who
died May 22, 1854, aged 61 years 10 months and 26 days. She was buried in Pennsylvania Township. James Wandel died in Luzerne Co. while on a visit to his old home,
Feb. 18, 1874. During his lifetime in the Eastern wilds, and on the Western prairies,
he was a great hunter ; many a noble buck, bear, wolf, catamount and fox, and smaller game
have succumbed to his unerring aim. Mr. and Mrs. Cease moved to Mason Co. in May,
1849 (her parents came a year later), and entered land in what is now Pennsylvania
Township. In the spring of 1851, they moved a granary building (thirteen miles),
which was 10×12 feet, on to their farm on Pennsylvania Lane, in which they (family of five persons) lived while they erected a house, which was the first built on Pennsylvania
Lane. They moved into it Sept. 15 following. That season they raised corn ; in the
fall sowed wheat; so they were comfortably fixed in their pioneer home. In 1867, sold their farm and moved to Mason City, and, in 1878, moved to their farm where they now reside, in Salt Creek Township. They have had ten children Elvira, born March
5, 1848, she married Schuyler J. Ross ; Eliva, Aug. 28, 1849, she married William
Stickler; Emma J., Nov. 16, 1850, she married Simon Stickler; Henry B., born Sept.
21, 1852. died Nov. 8, following: Mary M., born April 8, 1854, died Nov. 14, 1855 ; Charles W., born June 26, 1855 ; Frances L., Nov. 29, 1857, she married Isaac W.
Hendry; George A., March 2, 1860; James P., born Feb. 8, 1863, died Nov. 26, fol- lowing; and Oscar J., born June 16, 1865. They own a fine farm of 240 acres, also two houses and lots in Mason City. In politics, he is a Democrat.

GEORGE W. ELY, farmer; P. 0. Mason City; was born in Batavia, Clermont
Co.. Ohio, Feb. 11, 1820, where he followed market gardening. He married Lydia C. Noble July 27, 1846. She was born in Bethel, the same county, Feb. 26, 1826. They
moved to Cass Co., LI., in the spring of 1854, and to Mason Co., where he now resides, in the fall, on to his own farm. His father, George Ely, was born in New Jersey, and
married Mary Maunt in New Jersey. They moved to Clermont Co., Ohio, at an early
day ; lie bought land, and laid out Batavia on his farm ; he kept a hotel, and was Sheriff of the county a number of years. Mr. G. W. Ely commenced farming here under a cloud of unfavorable circumstances, largely owing to the breaking-out of the rebellion,
being in debt, having to pay exorbitant interest (18 per cent), his corn bringing only 8
to 10 cents per bushel, but energy and perseverance have enabled him to overcome and
rise above all these troubles, and place him and his in comfort and independence. They
have five children Sarah J., born July 6, 1846; Eugene B., Dec. 4, 1848; George
C., Nov. 8, 1851 ; John H., Sept. 9, 1801 ; James N., May 24, 1863. The first three were born in Newtown, Ohio, aud the other two in Salt Creek Township. He owns a
fine farm of 304 acres, and a good home. In politics, is a Republican.

WILLIAM P. FAULKNER, farmer and stock-raiser ; P. O. Mason City ; was
born in Dearborn Co., Ind., Dec. 23, 1825 ; with his parents, he went to Fulton Co.,
111., Nov. 30, 1838, and, in February, 1839, to Mason Co. In the spring of 1851, he
began farming on his own account; not being worth a dollar, yet his credit enabled him
to buy forty acres prairie land on time, and live in a shanty until they could do better. He married Melissa A. Virgin March 20, the same year; she was born in Ohio Dec. 4,
lS:n. They had five children Thomas J., born Dec. 27, 1852, and died March 8,
1853 ;/ Eliza J., born Feb. 25, 1854, died Aug. 3, 1873; Arabella E., born Feb. 28,
1856, died April 15, 1857; Belle A., born Nov. 6, 1860, died April 28, 1865, and
Francis R., born Dec. 16, 1863. Mrs. Faulkner died March 22, 1877. His second
marriage was celebrated Sept. 5, 1877, with Mrs. Mahulda Phillips, of Mason Co. ; she was born May ,24, 1855. She has, in her union with John M. Phillips, deceased, two
children Walter R., born Sept. 4, 1873, and William K., born Jan. 13, 1875. By
this second marriage, they have one child Ora May, born Feb. 19, 1879. Mr. Faulkner now owns 604 acres of as good land as there is in Mason Co.

DAVID W. HILYARD, farmer and stock-raiser ; P.O.Teheran; was born in Cumberland Co., N. J., April 1, 1827. Married Catharine F. Tomlinson, of the same
county, Sept. 4, 1851 ; her birthday occurred March 9, 1833; they moved to Mason
Co., 111., in March, 1855, and opened a general country store in Salt Creek Township,
but sold it out in the fall of 1856 ; in the spring of 1857, moved to the farm where
they now reside; Feb. 17, 1867, their house was entirely destroyed by fire, and so suddenly, though at midday, they found it impossible to save anything except a very little bedding and personal clotMng. They have had twelve children, viz., Mary E., born
Oct. 15, 1852 (she married Lorenzo F. Chester, and resides in Cass Co., Iowa); Hannah H., born Sept. 11, 1854 ; Preston J. P., June 4, 1856 (lives in Cass Co., Iowa) ; Emer E., Aug. 26, 1858, died Sept. 23, 1859 ; Lincoln Hamlin, born Aug. 26, 1860 ; Edmond F., Aug. 15, 1862; Robert F., March 2, 1865; Emer E., Dec. 10, 1867;
Charles B., Sept. 9, 1869; George H., Nov. 2, 1871, died Aug. 14, 1872 ; Walter R.,
born Feb. 16, 1874, died July 31, 1874, and Joseph L., born Sept. 30, 1876, died
Oct. 27, 1876. In New Jersey, Mr. Hilyard was a member of the I. 0. 0. F., and
in politics is a Republican ; he owns a good farm of 160 acres, and a nice home.

MICHAEL MALONEY, farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Mason City; was born
in Westinade Co., Ireland; in the fall of 1854, he landed in New York City; there he
worked at his trade stone-cutting until the next summer ; he then went to Mason
Co., 111., where he worked at farming about a year and a half for wages, then he rented
farm land ; in 1867, he made a small land purchase where he now resides, in Salt Creek
Tuwnship. He married Sarah E. Hadlock, of Mason Co., in 1861 ; they had two
children, viz., Mary A., born Aug. 4, 1862, died March 18. 1866 ; Edward F., born
March 9, 1864, died Sept. 24, 1864; Mrs. Sarah E. Maloney died Aug. 19, 1866.
His second marriage was celebrated March 26, 1867, with Mrs. Sarah A. Auxier ; she was born near Swing’s Grove, in Mason Co.. Dec. 13, 1840; she had four children by
her marriage with Samuel W. Auxier, viz., George W., born July 19, 1855, died Oct.
22, 1864; ‘Mary L., born April 3, 1857, died Sept. 10, 1858 ; John, born July 8, 1860,
and Samuel L., born March 26, 1862. Mr. and Mrs. Maloney have five children, viz., Anna Virgin, born Jan. 31, 1868; Elizabeth E., Nov. 16, 1870; Emma D., March 31,
1872; Thomas L., April 20, 1874, and Sarah May, June 8, 1876. Mr. Malony is serving his second term as School Director, and second year as Commissioner of Highways ; he belongs to the ” Modoc Tribe of Red Men,” No. 14; he owns a fine, wull- improved farm, containing 305 acres.

GEORGE W. MOSLANDER, farmer; P. O. Teheran; was born in Sangamon
Co., 111., May 13, 1844; son of James and Elizabeth Moslander ; they moved to Mason
Co. in 1845. He married Frances E. Douglas, of Fulton Co., Ill , Nov. 11, 1869 ; she was born in Clark Co., 111., Feb. 12, 1848; they have had three children, viz., Lawrence, born July 29, 1871, died July 31, 1872; Ida May, born Oct. 12, 1873; Louis,
June 28, 1875. In August, 1802, Mr. Moslander enlisted in Co. C, of the 85th I. V.
I., for three years’ service; was engaged in the battles of Peiryville, Ky., Stone Rive r, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain, and at the siege of Atlanta,
Ga. ; July 27, 1864, was taken prisoner and taken to Andersonville ; in three months, was removed to the prison in Millen, Ga. ; kept about three months, then to Savanna,
Ga., about six weeks ; he was then taken back to Andersonville, where he was kept till April 29, 1865 ; was then sent to Jacksonville, Fla., and exchanged ; he was given
transportation from there to Annapolis, Md. ; thence to St. Louis, Mo. ; thence to
Springfield, 111., where he got his discharge, in June, 1865. When he entered Andersonville prison, he weighed 145 pounds; when he left it, his weight was reduced to 65
pounds. Comment is unnecessary here. He then returned to his farm in Salt Creek
Township, where he now resides, and owns a fine home and farm of 1 60 acres.

WILLIAM McCARTY, farmer and breeder of blooded Holstein and Jersey
cattle and Yorkshire swine; P. 0. Mason City; was ‘born in Menard Co., 111., Dec. 11,
1845 ; is the eldest son of Thomas McCarty, of Mason City. He married Sarah J. Ely, daughter of George W. Ely, of Salt Creek Township, Dec. 16, 1866; they have
four children, viz., William E., born Sept. 11, 1867; George T., March 14, 1870;
Malinda J., Sept. 25, 1873, and Francis Otis, Feb. 19, 1878. He is working one of
his father’s farms in Salt Creek Township, of 240 acres, and has a pleasant home.
JOHN McCARTY, farmer and stock-raiser ; P. 0. Mason City ; was born in Clark Co., Ohio, April 19, 1836 ; came to Menard Co., 111., with his parents in the fall of 1838 ; in 1839, moved to Mason Co., where he now resides ; has always followed
farming and raising stock; his father and mother moved from North Carolina to Ohio.
Mr. McCarty married Anna Josephine Beck November 14, 1867 ; she was born in Shelby Co., Ohio, March 9, 1847. Mr. McCarty began life with nothing and never had a cent given him ; he now owns a fine home and 1,066 acres of land in Salt Creek
Township and ten acres inside the corporation of Mason City. Is a Director in the
First National Bank of Mason City ; was Commissioner of Highways nine years, but
declined the honor in 1878. He belongs to Modoc Tribe of Red Men, No. 14, of
Mason City. They have two children Onie Bell, born May 7, 1869, and Ida Dell,
born Jan. 10, 1873.

JACOB F. MULFORD, farmer: P. 0. Mason City : was born in Dearborn Co.,
Ind., Aug. 12, 1838; came to Mason Co., 111., in November, 1847. Aug. 1, 1861, he
enlisted in Co. A, 28th I. V. I., for three years’ service ; previously, he enlisted for the ninety days’ call, but was not ordered out unti] after he re-enlisted, as above stated : he received a bullet in his leg at the battle of Shiloh that laid him up about two months ; he was in many other and some serious engagements ; he re-enlisted Jan. 4. 1863, for another three years or during the war, and remained in the service almost a year after the surrender of the last rebel ; was discharged at Brownsville, Texas, April 14, 1866 ; what were le’t of their regiment disbanded at Springfield, 111. He married Miss Clarinda McCarty May 27, 1866 ; she was born in Salt Creek Township Mar?h 18,
1848 ; they have had nine children Thomas E., born April 28, 1867 ; Carrie I., Dec.
5, 1868; Norman 0., March 7, 1870; Effie M., Sept. 14, 1871 ; Rosie E., Jan. 29,
1873; Jacob E., Aug. 22, 1874, died Dec. 26, 1877 ; John H., born June 14, 1876;
William L., Nov. 4, 1877, and the baby, March 12, 1879. Sept. 12, 1874, they
moved to Missouri and remained three years, and then returned to the farm where they now reside in Salt Creek Township.

ALPHEUS P. ROLL, farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Teheran; was born in Sangamon Co. 111., Sept. 17, 1830; moved to the place where he now resides in Salt Creek Township in 1851. His father, William Roll, was born in Essex Co., N. J., June
16, 1786, and married Mary Eddy, of the same place; she was born Feb. 18, 1793 ; they moved to Sangamon Co., 111., in 1830 ; he died Aug. 11, 1849, and she died Dec.
6, 1876. Alpheus P., the subject of this sketch, married Mary E. Moslander April 6,
1850, at Bath, Mason Co., 111.; she was born in Cape May Co., N. J., Jan. 12, 1828 ; her father, James Moslander, and her mother, Elizabeth, were born in Cape May Co.,
N. J., he in 1795, she in 1806; they moved to Sangamon Co., 111., in 1840, and to Mason Co. in 1845 ; he died in April, 1849 ; she died Nov. 24, 1876. Mr. and Mrs.
Roll have had seven children L. G., born Sept, 24, 1850, died Aug. 28, 1851 ; James M., born Oct. 7, 1851, died Aug. 24, 1853; John E. and Mary E.^born Sept.
14, 1853; Rosa R., April 26, 1859, died Nov. 15, 1862; Charles H., born Sept. 13,
1863; Sidney R., March 19, 1866. John E. married Phoebe D. Roll; they reside near his father. Mary E. married William Peterson and resides in Cass Co., Iowa. Mr.
Roll owns 360 acres and a very fine home and surroundings complete, also a house and
lot in Mason City.

JOHN Y. SWAAR, farmer and stock-raiser; P.O. Mason City; was born in Scioto Co., Ohio, March 17, 1816 ; from 1829 to 1836, he was engaged in boating on
the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers; moved to Illinois in 1837; although he has ever
since lived within five miles of his present residence in Salt Creek Township, has lived
in Sangamon, Menard and Mason Cos. He mawied Sarah R. Powell, of Menard Co.,
Aug. 20, 1840 ; she was born in Ross Co., Ohio, June 4, 1822 ; her father and mother
moved from Kentucky to Ohio, and from there to Indiana, and to Menard Co. in 1825 ; they have had twelve children Henry M., born Aug. 9, 1841 ; Harriet E., Aug. 27,
1843 (married Edward S. Hibbard and lives in Kansas); William M., Nov. 3, 1845;
George H., Oct. 6, 1847 (married Mary E. Engel (deceased June 10, 1879, aged 19
years 4 months and 3 days); Sarah K., born April 6, 1850 (married William Markwell); Alcy J., born Feb. 20, 1852; Samuel P., Sept. 1, 1854, died Sept. 14, same
year; Amanda I., born Nov. 26, 1855; John C., Dec. 21, 1857; Oratia N. and
Letitia A., Sept. 12, 1859 ; Abigail, Oct. 4, 1863. Mr. Swaar and his sons own 640
acres of fine land in Salt Creek Township.

PULASKI SCOVIL, farmer; P. 0. Teheran; was born in Litchfield Co.,
Conn., January 28, 1808; in 1826, he went to Livingston Co., N. Y., bought a sawmill and 300 acres of timber, which he soon sold at an advance, and went to Brockport,
in company with a silversmith and jeweler ; but he soon had the business alone,
and manufactured silverware and sent out peddlers of his wares and jewelry until 1831,
when he moved to Geneva, N. Y., continuing in the same business, with the addition
of dry goods and notions. In July, 1831, he married Sarah Jerome; she was born in Onondaga Co., N. Y., in 1813, and deceased in 1840. In the fall of 1832, betook his broken stocks to Buffalo, N. Y., and opened an auction store; it took three months to dispose of all the goods ; he then went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and commenced the manufacturing of silverware and the jewelry business in general, which he continued successfully five years ; in the spring of 1837, he moved to Havana, in this county, where he
owned an interest in a steam saw-mill, bought the balance of the mill, and went to lumbering generally; this mill burned down in 1841 ; he then went to Waterford, Fulton
Co., 111., and bought an old mill and fitted it up, and, in 1845, he built another ; both of
these were destroyed by fire in 1850 uninsured ; he then went to Salt Creek Township,
where he now resides, and has since followed farming ; the first year, with the help of one man, he broke 120 acres of prairie, from which he got his first crop of fall wheat
.’5,5(1(1 bushels, which may be considered a good yield. The issue, living, of his union
with Sarah Jerome are Louisa, Ellen, George W. and Emily. His second marriage was
with Olive Cross, of Havana, III., in the fall of l842 ; she died in 1845 ; he then
married for his third wife Anna Bordwine, of Fulton Co., 111., in 1847 ; by this union,
they have one son living Benjamin F. His fourth marriage was with Caroline N.
Button, of Connecticut, in 1855; she died in 1860; he then married Mrs. Hannah
Jones June 23, 1862; she was born in Washington Co., Ohio”, Dec. 29,
1832; they have, by this issue, five children living Katie S., Pulaski J.,
Oliver H., Martha L. and Arthur A. By her marriage with Greenberry Jones,
she has four children living William E., Abner, Mary K. and Cornelia Jones. Mr.
Scovil owns 565 acres of splendid land in Salt Creek Township, and a fine home and
surroundings, and 400 acres in Missouri.

Salt Creek History part 3

Upcoming Schedule

March 2-6- Salt Creek Township

March 9-13- Forest City Township

March 16- 20- Quiver Township

March 23-27- Manito Township

March 30-April 3- Lynchburg Township

April 6-10- Bath Township

April 13-17- Kilbourne Township

April 20-30 Mason City Township

May 4-8- Allen’s Grove

May 11-22- Havana Township


As a pioneer of the prairie, John Y. Lane settled west of where Mason
City now stands, in 1851, building a hut of poles, prairie grass and canvas,
where he and his family spent their first winter and summer in this township.
He was then well advanced in age, but was a Tennessean, who fought under
Old Hickory Jackson in the war of 1812, and was inured to hardships from his
youth. He was somewhat impetuous and visionary, and when the first line of
the Tonica & Petersburg Railroad was surveyed near his place, in 1856, he and
William Young prepared to lay out a town, and Mr. Lane built a large frame
house which he designed for a hotel, and which he was unable to finish. That
house now stands northwest of the West Side Schoolhouse in Mason City, and
was moved there in 1872, by Jeremiah Skinner.
About 1847, John L. Chase, who lived in the southwest part of the township, and was a very efficient business man, was appointed Postmaster, by which
the post office was removed from Walker’s Grove, but still retained the name
of Walker’s Grove Post Office. Here all the eastern part of the county
received and sent out mail, which was carried on horseback, once a week, to
and from Petersburg ; that is. once a week when the crossing at Salt Creek
bridge would permit, which was only about half the time. Sometimes there were three and four weeks that we would be totally shut out from all mail communication on this account, even down as late as 1856. Often, some anxious
person would take the chances of swimming the sloughs on horseback, and
bring the mail over in a grain-sack, locked with a cotton string. Mr. Chase
died in 1856, and William Warnock, Jr., who, in partnership with William
Young, kept a country store at the farm of the latter, was appointed Postmaster, soon after removed it, with the store, to Hiawatha, where the office was sus- pended in 1858, upon the location of one in Mason City.
In 1854, George Young erected a steam saw-mill a quarter of a mile south of
Big Grove Cemetery, and, the following year, Edward Sikes, Jr., moved the
George Virgin store-building, of which he had now become the proprietor, to that
place. Several dwelling-houses were soon after erected, and a flouring-mill
added to the saw-mill, when the place was given the romantic name of Hiawatha. John Pritchett, who afterward became a prominent hardware and grain
merchant in Mason City, and is now a commission merchant in St. Louis,
started a blacksmith-shop. Dr. William Hall, a good physician, located there
for the practice of medicine, and when the first line of the Tonica & Petersburg
Railroad struck that place, in 1856, the most extravagant hopes of the people
seemed about to be realized. But the railroad went four miles farther east ; Mason City sprung up, and Hiawatha went down, and now not a vestige of
the village remains to be seen. The old ” Timber Schoolhouse.” or Virgin Schoolhouse, was the for the two townships, now Mason City and Salt Creek, until 1857, and
was known as ”
Salt Creek Precinct.” The election of 1856 will never be for- gotten by any one who was an eye-witness to the scenes of that day at this
place. With politics at fever heat, and barrels of whisky as fuel to the political
fire, no words can adequately describe the hurrahing, quarreling, fighting and
confusion of that day, from early morn until dusky eve. At this schoolhouse, religious meetings were frequently held, and the stronghold of Satan was stormed upon the tactics of border warfare, that is, upon the
theory that there is more terror to the enemy in noisy demonstration than in
means of eifectual destruction. Sinners were held “breeze-shaken” over the
yawning abyss of the preacher’s most vivid imagination, and the mighty oaks
bowed their majestic heads to the thunders of Sinai, and one unused to such
demonstrations would think the “heavens were rolling together as a scroll.”
In 1857, a camp-meeting of three weeks’ duration was held in the grove about a half-mile southwest of George Lampe’s place, at which Elder Peter Cartwright made his last visit to this section. About three-quarters of a mile southwest of this, and, on the ridge a quarter of a mile east of where Michael Maloney’s house now stands, was the inevitable grog-shop that was always to be
found as near the sanctum sanctorum of the camp-meeting as the Jaw would permit. Here it was that the first and last murder in the township was
committed, for which William (Duff) Armstrong and James Henry Norris were
indicted at the following term of Court, and for which the latter served a term
of eight years in the Penitentiary at Joliet, and the former was acquitted
defended by Abraham Lincoln, as we have before stated. The name of the
murdered man was Metzker, a citizen of Menard County. It was done about
9 o’clock at night, by being struck on the head with the neck-yoke of a
wagon, which fractured his skull, and from which he died next day. Dr. J. P.
Walker, now of Mason City, conducted the post mortem examination.
Dr. J. P. Walker settled in the west part of this township, at the place now
owned and occupied by George McClintick. in 1849, and pursued the practice of
medicine, and carried on his farm until 1858, when he moved to Mason City.
Dr. A. R. Cooper settled on the farm now occupied by William McCarty about
the same time, but removed a few years later. About the same year, Dr. John.
Deskins built a hut and located a half-mile east of George Lampe’s place. He
built his house in the side of a ridge, so that the earth formed three sides of
his domicile; but, embedded in the earth as ii was, a tornado, in 1852, swept it away and scattered his goods for miles around, though, as by a miracle, none
of the family were seriously injured.

Salt Creek History part 2



The same year, 1837, George T. Virgin settled a quarter of a mile further west on the place now owned and occupied by Kinzey M. Virgin, son
of Abram Virgin. George was more of a domestic nature, and employed his
time and energies in making home pleasant, not caring so much for stock nor
for acquiring all the land joining him. He was a large, corpulent man, of
Herculean strength, and, as is usually the case with such persons, sedentary in his habits, enjoying life as he lived and letting the future take care of itself,
though not by any means shiftless and improvident. His wife, however, whom
everybody called ” Aunt Alcy,” was a prodigy of ambition and neatness, and so
far as her dominion extended, she “hewed to the line.” No sacrifice of personal comfort or demand of labor was too great for her to make for the sick and distressed,
and of her it may truly be said, she ” went about doing good.” To accommodate the people in that vicinity who had to depend almost entirely upon Havana,
twenty miles away, for their groceries, Mr. Virgin fitted up a room of his
house, about 8×10 feet, and kept a small stock of coffee, sugar and the very
few other kitchen necessaries of that day. When the demands of the community required it, he moved his store into a log house on the side of the bluff,
about fifty yards east of the house as it now stands, where he added a general
assortment, that is, a general assortment for those days, which was far within
the limit of the present day. When this became too small, he built a store- house at the foot of the bluff, southeast of the graveyard, which, after a few
years, was moved to the little town of Hiawatha, of which farther on. Mr.
Virgin’s unfortunate death in January, 1855, occurred as follows: The family
had been using a preparation of corrosive sublimate to poison vermin, and kept
it on the mantel with other bottles of medicine and liquids, such as they had fre- quent occasion to use. In the night, Mr. Virgin, having some pain from colic, to which in a light form he was frequently subject, got up and went to the mantel to take a swallow of camphor, which was always kept in that place. He thought
he knew the bottle well enough to select it without a light, as he had often
done before, but by some strange fatality, he took a swallow from the bottle of
poison instead of the camphor, and, although the mistake was discovered
immediately and medical aid secured as soon as possible, the deadly drug
resisted all remedies and he died a week after. The widow died of cholera at the old homestead in 1873. They had no children.
The same year, 1837, Rezin Virgin, another of the brothers, entered and
improved the place now owned and occupied by Edwin E. Auxier. In the course of a few years, Rezin entered quite a considerable tract of land on the
north side of the grove, and, marrying the widow of Ephraim Brooner, one of
the early settlers of Mason City Township, improved his lands and settled
down out there, in a log house on the south side of a large pond. From here,
he moved to a house on his farm about a mile further northeast, where he died
in 1872, and his widow a few years later. Rezin was a man of great energy,
though physically weak all his life, and one of the most peculiar and eccentric
persons in the whole country, on account of which he was known far and near.

No one that had become even casually acquainted with him could ever forget ” Uncle Reze.”
Abram Virgin, the other of the four brothers, the same year (1837) settled
up in the eastern part of the grove in a log hut, as was the prevailing style of
architecture in those days. He engaged in stock-raising and agriculture, and
went through the hardships and deprivations common to those times. In 1858,
he was afflicted with a mental malady that made it necessary to confine him in
the Insane Asylum, at Jacksonville, for awhile. He was soon, however, restored
and ” clothed in his right mind,” and returned home, where he lived and directed
the affairs of his farm until he died of the scourge of cholera, which swept
through this section in 1873. His wife was also stricken down of the dread
disease, but lived a helpless, bedridden invalid until 1877, when she died also. She, “Aunt Betsey,” as she was familiarly called, was the friend and helper of
the sick, afflicted and distressed. They had a family of several children, five
of whom are living in the vicinity of their youthful days.
A year or two later, Abner Baxter, John Young, Ira Halstead and Ira
Patterson settled down in the southwest part of the township. Mr. Young
died in 1848, and his widow in 1862. Of their children, William became an
extensive land-owner and stock-dealer, and made valuable improvements on his
farm, on the north side of the grove from the paternal homestead, where he
died in 1865, leaving a widow (now the wife of J. H. Lemley) and several chil- dren, the oldest of whom, of the boys, Thorstein, now being married, occupie*
the home place.
Ira Halstead was a blacksmith and a Methodist minister, and about twenty five years ago, moved to Wisconsin, where he still lived when last heard from.

Ira Patterson was a Justice of the Peace, a school-teacher, and went to Oregon
about 1850, and was appointed Territorial Governor there a few years afterward. He is one celebrity of the pioneer days of this township that it is well
to rescue from the ever-increasing obscurity of tradition. The place where he- lived was a hewed-log house at the foot of the bluff below the mouth of Salt
Creek, later known as the Will Henry Hoyt place.
On the place next adjoining this on the east, the Armstrong family settled
in 1854, too late a date for a pioneer special mention, but historical from the- fact that ” Uncle Jackey
” and ” Aunt Hannah,” as they were familiarly called,
furnished a home to Abraham Lincoln when he was a young man, and it was
by the light of their fire Lincoln stored his mind with much of its fund of general information, in the reading of such books as he could obtain ; but this
occurred in Menard County, and will appear in its proper place in the history
of that county. But the gratitude of Mr. Lincoln continued with this family
as long as he lived, and was manifested in various ways, even after he became
President of the United States. In 1857, William (Duff), who now occupies the old homestead, was indicted
by the grand jury of this county as one of the parties to a murder committed
at a camp-meeting held in the grove near George Lampe’s place, of which
hereafter, and Lincoln, then a prominent lawyer in Springfield, voluntarily
defended and cleared him, without fee and as a token of gratitude to the old
mother, who had then become a widow by the death of her husband, about a year before.

In 1841, John Swaar settled on a forty-acre lot, the northwest quarter of the
southeast quarter of Section 35, in Salt Creek bottom, from whom ” Swaar Ford,”
on the creek south of that place, took its name. A few years later, he moved to a forty-acre purchase which ^he entered, on the north side of the grove, where
he built a log hut on the site of the beautiful and spacious farm residence he
and his family now occupy. By industry and frugality this family has
acquired an extensive body of land, and deal largely in stock. Mr. and Mrs.
Swaar are now the only living representatives of the pioneers of this early day
that have lived in the township continuously from that day to this, and with
the exception of the Clark brothers, and, perhaps, a very few others, none of
whom are now residents of the township, they are the only representatives of
adult age of that time, living. John Auxier, and his brother Eli. who came out
with the party from Ohio in 1837, married, several years later, and settled on
the north side of the grove ; John, on the place now composing part of D. W.
Riner’s body of land, and Eli on a forty-acre tract north of it (which is now
owned by George Swaar), where he died in 1848. His widow is still living,
but in feeble health, with her son, Rev. E. E. Auxier, down near Salt Creek.
John Auxier, to accommodate his propensity for feeding stock and enlarge his
landed possessions, bought a large body of land at the east end of the grove
and built a log house on top of a high bluff, a quarter of a mile south of
where the M. E. Church now stands, where he died in 1857. His widow and
children now have all removed to a farther western country.

This information comes from a book about the History of Menard and Mason County. The author is listed unknown and is about the time period from about 1834-1880.


Upcoming Schedule

March 2-6- Salt Creek Township

March 9-13- Forest City Township

March 16- 20- Quiver Township

March 23-27- Manito Township

March 30-April 3- Lynchburg Township

April 6-10- Bath Township

April 13-17- Kilbourne Township

April 20-30 Mason City Township

May 4-8- Allen’s Grove

May 11-22- Havana Township


The original survey of this township was made in the fall of 1823, and was designated Township 20 north, Range 6 west of the Third Principal
Meridian. It contains thirty-six sections, each a mile square, except the tier of six on the north side, which are fractional, as is usually the case. Section
No. 36, in the southeast corner of the township, is divided by Salt Creek,which meanders through the southeast part, cutting off about one-third of the section.
The northern part of the township is a high rolling prairie, once marred by numerous basins or ponds, but now almost wholly drained, and in a good state of cultivation. The south and west parts of the township are more broken,and the south part, which includes Salt Creek Bluffs, very much so. Big Grove extends along these bluffs, at an irregular width of from one-fourth of a mile to a mile and a half, at the south side of which the pioneer settlers made their primitive and crude homes. Lease’s Grove, in the northwest part of the township, was originally small, containing an area of about 200 acres, which area is now materially contracted by clearing off the timber for cultivation of the land ; and the same means have very materially contracted the area of Big Grove.

The soil of the township is productive of all cereals and fruits indigenous to the climate, but the principal crop is corn, as in all the eastern part of the
county. In the earlier days, winter wheat yielded a sure and abundant harvest, as it was usually the first crop after the sod was broken. Corn, in those days, required but little cultivation, and, after planting the corn, the pioneer usually occupied most of the time thereafter until harvest, breaking prairie, scattering corn along every third furrow. Corn planted in this way produced a large amount of fodder, and the earlier planting a good yield of corn, but the later planting was generally caught by the autumn frosts, and was not good feed. This was marketed for distilling purposes, and from this fact originated the term, “sod-corn whisky,” which used to be applied to the bad and chemically adulterated grades, as an expression of contempt.

The first entry of land in this township was made August 12, 1829, by Leonard Alkire, of Sugar Grove, and was a tract of 120 acres in the southwest quarter of Section 34, contained in what is now known as the Knox farm, but was not improved by the first purchaser, nor until more than twenty years later- August 17, 1829, William Hagans entered 120 acres, west half of the southwest quarter, Section 33, and southeast quarter of the southeast quarter, Section 32, now known as the Charles L. Montgomery place. Here, near the site of the present brick residence, Hagans built a rude log hut, and, with his family, became the pioneer settler of this township, and of what is now eastern Mason County. June 12, 1834, James C. Hagans entered the forty-acre tract of land now owned in part each, by James P. Montgomery and George H. Short, and built a hut where the latter’s house now stands. June 15, 1837, John Hagans entered the forty-acre tract where J. P. Montgomery now lives, and built a hut near the site of the present residence. A few years later, however, they all sold out to Ephraim Wilcox, and moved away to further Western wilds, and were lost to the knowledge of those who lived after them here.

As early as 1830, a family named Slinker, ” squatted ” on a piece of land up in the grove northwest of the places just referred to, but tradition has but few words of remembrance of them or their habitation, and nothing of their place of migration. In 1830, Leonard Alkire bought a large lot of land in Sections 33 and 34, and held it, as was termed by the settlers, as “speculator’s land,” without making any improvements upon it. In 1830, Robert and William Hughes entered the land now the farm of M.
Vanlanningham, which Daniel Clark, Sr., purchased and settled upon in 1835, and where the old gentleman died in 1853, and was buried near the house in which he lived, and which is still there, though the first house he lived in there was a log hut. His three sons are still living ; Alfred, in ‘Crane Creek Township ; Daniel, in Mason City, and William, in Dubuque, Iowa. In 1833, a man named Lease settled in the northwest part of the township, at a grove which, from his settlement there, took the name of Lease’s Grove, which name it still bears. Soon after this, Samuel Blunt, George Wilson and the Moslanders settled there, and formed a little isolated band or neighborhood
in and around the beautiful grove, from which improvement, farther and farther out into the prairie on all sides the Third School District in the township was gradually formed and extended. In connection with the Wilson family, referred to above, it is proper here to state that his son, Orey, committed suicide by hanging himself to the limb of a tree, in 1852, which was the first case of deliberate self-destruction in the township, and the last. The news of the rash act was
received by the sparsely settled county with horror, and, for years after, the scene of the tragedy was a place of dreadful interest, and the helated and soli- tary citizen who passed along the road by it after night did so with light and elastic step, and numerous “hair-raising” stories of suspended ghosts became current in the course of time.

In 1835, Isaac Engle entered the forty-acre tract which is now owned and occupied by W. F. Auxier, and built a log hut on an elevation about forty rods southwest of where the dwelling now stands, as a monument to the site of which primitive landmark a stately locust-tree stood until a few years ago, when that, too, fell a victim to the rapacious ax of the modern inhabitant. This place was purchased, with other tracts adjoining, in 1837, by Edward Sikes, Sr., who, with several other families, came out from Ohio and settled in the grove. A few years later, Mr. Sikes built the substantial frame house which now is on the place, and planted out an orchard of the first grafted fruit-trees ever planted in that vicinity, and which yields its delicious fruit now every year, although the hands that planted them have been in the grave nearly a quarter of a century. In the old log house on this place, the first school in the township was taught, in 1838, by one of the daughters of Mr. Sikes, now Mrs. S. D. Swing, of Mason City, who, soon after, settled with her husband as pioneers at Swing’s Grove, in Mason City Township.

In 1835, Michael Engle entered an eighty-acre tract, now known as the Hume place, and built a log hut about fifty yards west of K. M. Auxier’s house, nothing of which now remains, but the place where the- well has been filled in can yet be distinguished. In this well a child of John Carter, who later occupied the house, fell and was drowned, the summer of 1849. In 1837, Kinzey Virgin moved out from Ohio, bought this place with other adjoining tracts, built a hewed-log house where the barn now stands, and set- tled down in his new and rather wild and romantic home. He was a man of considerable enterprise as a stock-raiser and accumulated this world’s goods
quite rapidly, but was peculiarly unfortunate with his family of children, but one of whom ever lived to reach the years of majority, and that the youngest,
and but a babe when he himself died in 1852, six children, and all but the one, having preceded him to the grave, and the wife following two years later. Though a man somewhat reckless in his habits and profane in conversation, he held it a sacred duty to have a funeral sermon preached for every one of his children that died, and what was something remarkable, John L. Turner, the “little Baptist preacher,” of Crane Creek, officiated at every one of these occasions, and also at that of the father and mother. .The latter, “Aunt Eliza,” was one of Nature’s noblewomen. The silent grief and heartpangs which many circumstances pierced like a dagger her very soul, were buried there and without a word of reproach o’r complaint, forever. She was universally beloved and honored for her inherent goodness and nobility of Nature.