Manito Township

The information below comes from a book entitled, “The History of Menard and Mason Counties, Illinois” The book has an unnamed author and covers the years from about 1834-1880. I hope you enjoy this information and let others know that it is out there. Thanks – Tom




He who attempts to present with unvarying accuracy the annals of a country or even of a district no larger than a township, the history of which reaches back through a period of more than a quarter of a century, imposes upon himself a task beset with difficulties on every hand. These difficulties are often augmented by statements widely at variance, furnished by early settlers and

their descendants as data from which to compile a true and faithful record of past events. To claim for a work of this character perfect freedom from the slightest inaccuracies would be simply to arrogate to one’s self that degree of wisdom which alone resides in the councils of the omniscient I Am. If, therefore, kind reader, the time and place of recorded events may not, in every particular, agree with your individual opinion, please bear in mind we will ever incline to those statements which seem supported by the greater weight of testimony. To give FACTS, and facts only, should be the highest aim and ambition of every writer who professes to deal with incidents of the past. This shall be our goal, this our guiding-star. How well the task shall be performed, we submit to the judgment of a discriminating public. 

The township of Manito is situated in the northeast corner of Mason County, and comprises within its present limits a little more than forty-five sections. It is somewhat irregular in shape, being eight miles in extent along its northern boundary line, by nine miles north and south along its eastern boundary line. The extreme west line of the township is but four miles in extent from north to south. With the exception of two or three small groves in the north and northwestern portions of the township, the entire area of Manito Township is prairie. The central, eastern and southeastern portions are somewhat flat, yet for the most part easily susceptible of drainage. When the first settlers came, much of these portions were denominated swamp-lands, but these, by artificial drainage, have been converted into the most productive farms within her limits. And where once wild geese and ducks in countless numbers swam lazily about amidst the rank-growing rushes or floated calmly and undisturbed upon the stagnant waters, may now be seen finely cultivated fields teeming with the fast-ripening harvest. The soil in this portion of the township is of a deep black loam, freely intermixed with sand, but is exceedingly fertile and productive. Indeed, such a vast amount of corn, oats, rye and wheat is annually produced in this portion of Manito and those adjacent to it, that the citizens have for many years recognized the propriety of designating it as their Egypt. Corn, however, is the staple product of this, as well as most other portions of the county.

No tortuous stream courses its way through the township. Water, however, is easily obtained even in the highest portions at a depth of from twenty to thirty feet. A hollow, pointed iron tube, one and one-half inches in diameter, with slottings near the point for the admission of water, is driven to the required depth below the surface, and, when once a vein is tapped, an inexhaustible supply is afforded. In this manner, a ”drove-well” thirty feet deep can be begun and completed in a few hours’ time. The northwestern and western portions of the township varies in its surface configurations from that which we have described. The soil is of a somewhat different character, the lighter colored and more argillaceous subsoil appearing at or near the surface. The surface is a plane of higher elevation and is somewhat broken and hilly. It is, however, quite productive and yields fine crops of corn. One peculiar characteristic of the soil is that it can withstand excessive drought or long continued wet weather better than that portion known as Egypt. The greatest drawback to this section is its lack of pasturage and meadow lands. Farmers are necessitated to feed their stock throughout the entire year and to procure their hay from a distance, varying from twelve to fifteen miles. In position, this township lies north of Forest City Township, east of Quiver Township, south and west of Tazewell County. Passing from the topography of the township, we enter at once upon that period of its history pertaining to its



As has already been stated, the timbered area of Manito Township was of limited extent. Black Oak Grove in the northeast, Coon Grove on Sections 31 and 32, together with the outskirts of Long Point Timber on the extreme western boundary, comprise the timbered district, with the exception of a small grove on Section 30, not exceeding six acres in extent, called Walnut Grove,

from the character of the timber found there. And as in other portions of our Western country, the earliest settlements and improvements are found in and along the outskirts of the timber, so, likewise, the earliest settlements were made here in the groves of this township. No matter how unproductive the soil along the timber line, nor how rich and fertile the broad acres of outstretching prairie might be a few miles away, the early pioneer built his rude log cabin near the timber and began the work of opening up his farm, leaving for those who should succeed him after the lapse of a decade or more of years, the most productive and finest farming lands in all his section of territory.

Among the earliest, if not the earliest settler of the township, was one William Herron, who settled as early as 1838 or 1839, just east of the present village of Manito, on the farm now owned by John Woodworth. He had emigrated from Ohio to Mackinaw, Tazewell County, some years earlier, and from Mackinaw to Mason County, and settled in the edge of Black Oak Grove, as before stated. A maiden sister kept his house for him. He lived the life of a bachelor and, dying, was buried on the farm on which he settled, few, if any now living, can point out the exact spot where repose the mortal remains of Manito’s earliest settler. To him may be applied most fittingly the words of the poet

“Not in the churchyard’s hallowed ground,

Where marble columns rise around,

By willow or by cypress shade,

Are thy poor mortal relics laid. Thou sleepest here, all, all alone No other grave is near thine own.

‘Tis well, ’tis well, but oh, such fate Seems very, very desolate.” 


At or near the same time came Stephen W. Porter, accompanied by his wife, and settled near the edge of the pond now included within the corporate limits of the village of Manito. Porter was a nephew of Herron’s, and came here from Mackinaw. He continued to live in this section of the county up to the date of his demise. A man by the name of Ray came from New York and settled in Coon Grove, or rather between Coon Grove and Long Point timber, on the farm now owned by W. H. Cogdell, as early as 1840. He built a log cabin and was the third permanent settler in the township. Soon after coming, he planted a quantity of apple-seeds, and from the seedlings thus raised put out the first apple orchard made in this section of the county. The line of the P., P. & J. R. R. passes through this orchard a short distance northeast of Forest City. There yet remain a few of the trees planted by the hands of the early settler nearly forty years ago. After a few years’ residence, he sold out his possessions and started back to the Empire State, but sickened and died on the way. As an evidence that labor was cheap and money scarce with the early settlers, it may be stated that the making of rails could be contracted for two bits or 25 cents per hundred, and the pay was taken in meat at 12 cents per pound, two pounds paying for the labor of making one hundred rails.


 Of settlers in the township as early as 1845. the following names occur: Abel Maloney, Layton Rice, George Baxter, John Davis, King Hibbard, James Green, Thomas Landreth, Zeno Ashmon, William Mayes, Douglas Osborne, Alexander and Wesley Brisbaur. Maloney came originally from the Old Dominion and settled in Menard in 1838. In 1841, he came to Manito Township and settled in Coon Grove near the location of Union Station, on the P., P. & J. R. R. He was in poor circumstances when he came, but accu- mulated means rapidly and was considered wealthy at the time of his death, which event occurred in 1849. His son William and his daughter, Mrs. Robert M. Cox, at present reside in the village of Manito. Rice came from Kentucky and first settled in Menard, but, in 1842, came to Coon Grove and began the improvement of a farm. George Baxter was from Kentucky, and ” squatted” in the edge of Long Point timber as early as 1843. He was somewhat noted among the early settlers but not by any means popular, as his preconceived notions of the eternal fitness of all things had led him to form a matrimonial alliance with one of Kentucky’s ebon daughters, whom he made the sharer of his sorrows and the doubler of his joys. He had come to this great and growing State, where he might enjoy the society of his loved companion and the comforts of his home unmolested, where, figuratively speaking, he might worship beneath his own vine and fig tree, but soon it seems the red hand of persecution was raised against him. 

Robert Green entered him out in 1845, and he next located west of Simmond’s Mills, in Quiver Township. Green followed him up, and, a few years later, he moved with his fair bride to the State of Missouri, and was seen no more in this goodly land. The year 1843 brought into the settlement Davis, Hibbard and Green. Davis was from Virginia, and had first settled in Menard before coming to Mason County. He settled the farm now known as the Randolph farm, and had, at the date of his settlement, a family of four girls and three boys. He is remembered among the old settlers as the man who never was seen wearing a pair of gloves or mittens. No matter how inclement the weather, his labor was always performed bare-handed. Hibbard came from Mackinaw, and set- tled at the north end of Black Oak Grove. After a residence of a few years, lie sold out, purchased three yoke of oxen from Thomas Landreth and started by the overland route for Oregon. As he was never heard of afterward, it is presumed that both he and his family fell victims to the unerring rifle or tomahawk of the noble red man of the forest. James Green came from Menard County to Coon Grove, but, a few years later, returned to his former residence.

About the same date, Indiana furnished to the population Zeno Ashmore and a brother named Calvin, the latter popularly known far and wide as “Jefunky.” The Ashmores are represented as being rather shiftless in their dispositions. Zeno settled and lived for a time on what is known as the McHarry place, a part of which is included in the present limits of the village of Manito. “Jefunky” lived around promiscuously for a number of years and finally located in Washington, Tazewell County, where he died some eight or ten years ago. Thomas Landreth came from Virginia and settled at Mackinaw, Tazewell County, as early as 1824 or 1825. In 1844, he came to Coon Grove to Mason County, where for $200 he purchased the claim of Layton Rice. Rice returned to Menard County, and now resides not far from Mason City. Landreth became a permanent settler, remaining until his decease. At the date of his coming, he had a family of six children. He was twice married and was the father of twenty-two children. His son, John S. Landreth, is now a citizen of Manito Village. William Mayes and Douglas Osborne were from Kentucky, and the Brisbaurs from Mackinaw. These came in during the year 1845. Mayes was familiarly known as “Hame-Legs” Mayes, a name applied to him on account of his excessive bowleggedness. Of the Brisbaurs,it may be stated that in quite an early day, Alexander removed to Texas and Wesley to Oregon. While this portion of the county did not rapidly increase in population till some years later, nevertheless there was annually a steady, healthy increase.

Quiver Township Biographical Sketches





LORING AMES, farmer; P. O. Topeka; son of Zephaniah Ames, whose ancestors came over in the Mayflower during the reign of William and Mary. They were of English descent. His mother’s maiden name was Case. She was born in Connecticut, and was married to Mr. Ames in Maryland. In 1818, they came to Illinois, and settled on a farm in St. Clair Co. for a few years. They moved, in 1823, to Adams Co., where they both died he, in 1835, and she, in 1825. The subject of this sketch was born Sept. 13, 1806, and, when 1 year old, moved with his parents to Hemlock Forest, in Pennsylvania, and was there until 15 years old, when he came to Illinois with his parents. In 1827, he went to the lead mines in the West. During the time he was there, he participated in a war with the Indians, who were headed by Red Bud. He returned in 1829, and shortly afterward took a flatboat, starting from Quincy,  and running to New Orleans. This was the first flatboat ever run down from Quincy, and was loaded with hogs, corn, potatoes, onions and oak staves. He returned in 1830, and worked on a farm for Gov. Wood, for two years. He had considerable management of Gov. Wood’s business, and was often called Governor by strangers. He next worked on a steam mill for Holmes; afterward, on a farm until 1832, when he was in the Black Hawk war. On his return, he began farming:, and continued it until married, which was in 1833, to Elmira Jones, daughter of Deacon Jones, who laid out Canton. In 1836, he moved to Fulton Co., and made brick in partnership with his father-in-law for one year ; he then farmed in Fulton Co. until 1856, when he came to Mason Co., and settled the present farm of 160 acres, which they obtained  by their own labor. He became a member of the Congregational Church in Quincy, in 1831, and is now with the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Topeka, Il. His wife is also a member. The names of their children are Ardelia, Orpheus, who was in the war of the rebellion for three years ; Joel, also in the war ; George, Charles, Diantha and Emily.


S. ALLEN, farmer and teacher ; P. 0. Topeka ; son of Sylvanus Allen, who was born in Mason Co., Ky., Feb. 10, 1797, and moved to Ohio in 1804 ; was married Nov. 29, 1821, to Miss Bakehorn, daughter of George Bakehorn ; she was born April11, 1803, in New Jersey, and died Dec. 31, 1875. In the spring of 1830, they moved to Miami Co., Ohio, where they afterward resided. Mr. L. S. Allen was born Jan. 24, 1834, on a farm in Miami Co., Ohio ; at the age of 17, he began teaching, nd made his home with his parents until he was married, Aug. 27, 1865, to Mrs. Ella F. Davis, a daughter of Amos Flowers ; her husband, Mr. Davis, died in the late war. In 1864, Mr. Allen began merchandising at Lena, Ohio, in partnership with Mr. Brecount. In 1865, Mr. Brecount drew out, and Mr. Allen continued the business until 1867, when he came to Mason Co.,IL, and soon engaged in merchandising, at Topeka, in partnership with his brother-in-law, Mr. Flowers, and continued thus until about 1874, when they sold the business to Colviri & Hoagland. He then began teaching during the winters and farming in the summers, which he still continues. They have, by their frugality, secured themselves a house and lot in Topeka, and eighty acres of well- improved land near by. They have no children ; he has held the office of Town Clerk, and is at present a Notary Public ; he and his wife are members of the M. K. Church, at Topeka, in which ho has held the offices of Steward and Trustee, and is now KK Superintendent of the Sabbath school in that Church. He was once Justice of the Peace, and was also in the war, enlisting in the 147th Ohio V. I. 


B. APPLEMAN, farmer; P. 0. Topeka; is the son of John and Catharine Appleman, both of New Jersey, the former of whom was born Oct. 7, 1800, came to Illinois about 1848, and was killed by a team running away, Sept. 28, 1866. He was a member of the Old School Presbyterian Church. His wife was born Oct. 26, 1800 ; her maiden name being Cross. Her confession was with the Reformed Church, but she afterward united with the Presbyterian, in which communion she died, April 6, 1872, a faithful Christian, sincerely devoted to the interests of the Church. They had a family of eleven children William C., born Dec. 4, 1821 ; Mary A., Jan. 2, 1824; Cornelia E., Jan. 27, 1826; Sarah L., May, 1828: Margaret A. (deceased), Nov. 18,1830; Alexander C., Jan. 22, 1833 ; Emeline, Sept. 22, 1835 ; Fannie C., Feb. 14, 1837 ; Augustus B., Nov. 1, 1838 ; John, March 14, 1841 ; Josephus M., Nov. 5, 1843. The subject of this sketch was born in Somerset Co., N. J., and when 9 years old came with the family, by team, as was customary in those days, to Mason Co., 111., and settled on thefarm which he now owns. It was then a raw prairie, but by their labors has become fine arable land. At 21, he rented of Mr. Anno for one year, afterward working on the farm of his brother-in-law, Mr. Cross. He then bought the present farm, the old homestead of his father, of 160 acres, and has since increased it to 280 acres. His marriage with Hannah C. McReynolds was celebrated Dec. 31, 1869, by Rev. Henr Decker, of the Reformed Church. Her father’s name was Robert McReynolds, who was born April 13, 1791, in Columbia Co., Penn. He was a farmer, Assessor and Judge.Her mother’s maiden name was Moyier. She was born Nov. 14, 1801, in Pennsylvania. They were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which communion they died. Mr. Appleman has been blessed with the following children Clara F., born in February, 1870 ; Clarence and Clayton, twins, Aug. 30, 1872 ; Frank M., Dec. 11, 1878., He has been and is now School Director, and was once Road Commissioner. His farm, which lies two miles northwest of Topeka, is one of the finest in the country. One could not be otherwise than happy, being thus surrounded by the fields and groves that lie adjacent to this residence. Yet Mr. Appleman has reasons for desiring to change localities. 


CHARLES BARTELS, fanner and stock-dealer ; P. 0. Topeka ; son of Henry Bartels, a native of Germany, who came to America some thirty years ago , was a farmer and coal miner, and now makes a home with Mr. Bartels, whose mother’s name was Long, daughter of a noted farmer of Germany ; she came to America about thirty three years ago. The subject of this sketch was born Sept. 15, 1849, in Pottsville, Penn., where he remained until 21, at which time he came, with his parents, to Illinois, settling on the present farm of 160 acres, eighty of which now belong to him, the rest to a brother ; this is the old homestead of his father. Mr. Bartels has made good improvements and possesses a fine little home. His marriage with Anna Wills was celebrated Aug. 11, 1872 ; she is a daughter of William Wills, of Topeka, one of the noted men and early pioneers of the township, and one of the first settlers of Mason Co. ; she was born in 1854, in Mason Co., III. ; two children were the fruit of their marriage George H., born May 30, 1873; Lillie A., Aug. 7, 1876. Mr. Bartels has followed threshing and carpentering; he has been no office seeker, and has spent his past years in rural life. 


THEODORE BELL, druggist and hardware, Topeka ; son of William Bell, who was born in Pennsylvania ; was a stonemason, and died in August, 1861; his wife’s maiden name was Hennigh, daughter of Daniel’ Hennigh, a noted farmer; she survived her husband and, two years after his death, came to Illinois, and is now making her home in Kansas, with her son Daniel. The subject of this sketch was born May 18, 1846, on a farm in Pennsylvania, and remained there engaged in going to school most of the time until 15 years old, when he left the scenes of his childhood soon after his last farewell to his father, and came, with his two sisters and one brother, to Mason Co., 111.; two years afterward, his mother came. Mr. Bell engaged, at his settlement, in farming for his older brother, Mr. Daniel Bell, with whom his mother makes her home in Kansas, and worked for him one season ; when nearly 18, he enlisted in Co. L, llth I. V. C., and served eighteen months; returning from war, he began working for his brother, on a farm, for one summer, and then engaged in clerking in a drug store for Harper & Robinson, of Havana, for six months; he then taught school for some time in Sherman Township. Mason Co., and afterward attended school at the Northwestern University at Plainfield,Il., for two terms; from there he went to Pennsylvania and engaged in reading law for a year with the firm of Longworth & Jenks ; afterward, he made a visit to Kansas and soon engaged in teaching school for three years, and, in 1875, he, like others who have left the beautiful plains of Mason Co., returned and engaged in teaching school for three years ; he then bought the drug store at Topeka, owned by C. H. Martz, to which he has added a hardware department,,nand in which business he still continues ; he has held the office of Town Clerk.


NATHAN CLARK, farmer ; P. 0. Petersburg ; is a native of Otsego Co., N. Y., where he was born May 9, 1818. There his boyhood and early life were spent, and, being of a musical turn, he studied music, and was for many years leader of a string band that became quite noted. He remembers furnishing music for Gen. Winfield Scott, and a number of other distinguished guests. He came to Illinois in 1863, locating in Mason Co. He now owns a fine tract of land. He removed to Petersburg in 1877, and renovated the Elmo House, and opened it as the Clark House. He married Elvira, daughter of Capt. Benedict, of Maryland, Sept. 2, 1845. They are parents of nine children, all of whom are now living and well educated, five being already teachers. Few can look back with more satisfaction over their past life than Mr. and Mrs. Clark. Mr. Clark was for a number of years passenger conductor on the P., P. & J. R. R. In 1879, Mr. Clark moved upon his farm in Quiver, where he now resides. 


GEORGE D. COON, farmer and stock-dealer ; P. 0. Topeka ; son of Reuben and Anna Coon. The former was born on a farm in New Jersey, in 1787, and came to Illinois in 1842. His wife’s maiden name was Drake, daughter of George Drake, of New Jersey. She was born in 1793. They are both dead; he died in 1862, she in 1853. They were both members of the Baptist Church of New Jersey, and died in that faith. The subject of our sketch was born April 9, 1813, in New Brunswick,NJ., and remained there until 1839, and was engaged in farming and blacksmithing. In that year he came, by team, to Illinois, and settled in Greene Co., where he remained until 1842, at which time he moved to Mason Co., and settled on a farm for some time. He then settled on the present farm of eighty acres, which he had entered from the Government prior to his settlement on the same. He has given his attention entirely to agricultural pursuits, and has increased his land to 820 acres, and has improved the same. Seven hundred and twenty acres of this land is the fruit of their own labor and management. He celebrated his marriage, in 1836. with Harriet Brown, daughter of Stephen Brown, of New Jersey. He came to Illinois in 1849, with a family of seven children. His wife’s maiden name was Bishop. Mrs. Coon was born in 1815. Six children were the fruit of this happy marriage Mary J. (now Appleman), who has taught school, Waller L., Reuben G., Sophia B., George D. ; deceased, R. R. Mr. Coon retains a membership in the Baptist Church in New Jersey. At the time of Mr. Coon’s settlement the county was but little settled, and there yet remained now and then a wild animal which had perhaps narrowly escaped the flint-lock and spear of the savage. He has toiled on in rural life in the same channel with his neighbors, and has improved these raw prairies. 


ALBERT CROSS, farmer and stock-dealer; P. O. Topeka; son of S. B. Cross, of Mason City Township ; his mother’s maiden name was McReynolds, daughter of a noted farmer of New Jersey; he was born Aug. 11, 1856, on a farm in Mason ‘Co.; 111., where he remained until 16 years old. at which time he moved with his parent* to Mason City Township, where they remained engaged in farming for four years. Mr. Cross, Sept. 20, 1876, was married to Fronia Slade, of Ohio, daughter of J. W. Slade ; her mother’s name was Van Gorden. a native of Ohio. After marriage they settled on his father’s farm in Mason City Township, and remained there some time, when they moved to the present farm of 160 acres, owned by J. W. Slade, which Mr. Cross controls, and on which he is having good success, having this season raised, wheat which averaged over twenty bushels per acre; this farm is finely improved. They have been blessed with one child Stephen R., born Nov. 23, 1878.


SARAH A. CADWALADER, boarding, Topeka; is a daughter of Isaac Wiseman, a farmer of Ohio ; he was born in 1776 in South Carolina, and died Dec. 31, 1833, in Hamilton, Ohio. Her mother’s maiden name was Harper, daughter of a farmer of Virginia; she was born in 1789 in Virginia, and died in 1856 in Ohio. The subject of this sketch was born in 1819 in Butler Co., Ohio ; when 14 years old, she went with the family to Hamilton, Ohio, where the family had gone for the benefit of part of them who were suffering with consumption, which disease ended the life of her father. In 1837, she was married to Hugh Beaty, a bricklayer and plasterer ; they settled at Hollow Springs for one year ; in the latter part of 1838, Mr. Beaty died, leaving her with an infant, which, shortly afterward, died also ; she then went to her mother’s home in Hamilton, Ohio, where she bore this sad bereavement. In 1842, she came with her mother and sister to Havana, 111., where she remained seven years. We here note a matter which shows a kind and sympathizing heart : This lady helped to make the shrouds and to lay out the bodies of eighty-five persons during a period of seven years. In 1849, she was married to Rees Cadwalader, a mechanic of Pennsylvania ; he was of a Quaker family, in which denomination he consecrated his all: he died in 1867. She, sometime afterward, bought and improved some property in Topeka, 111., where she now resides. By her last husband she had two children, both of whom died while infants. She is a strict member of the M. E. Church at Topeka, I11., in which communion she consecrated herself early in life. 


JOHN G. DEVERMANN, farmer and stock-dealer, P. 0. Topeka; son of John Deverman, of Hanover, Germany, who died about 1862. Mr. Deverman’s mother’s maiden name was Hurkamp ; she was born in 1803 in Germany, and died May 8, 1879, at Mr. Deverman’s residence, in Quiver Township, where she had been living for some time ; she came to Illinois about 1863. Mr. Deverman was born Nov. 19, 1835, on a farm in Germany, and remained there until 22 years old, when he came to Illinois, settling in Havana for two months, and working for his brother-in law, at butchering; he next went to Matanzas, and engaged in farming for R. Havighorst, for one year, when he began farming, renting of George Beal for five years. He then, in 1864, married Anna Budke, of Germany, born in 1845 ; she came to Illinois, with her parents, in 1848 ; they were blessed with seven children Henry, Mary, Heoman, Willie, John, Lizzie and Katie (deceased). Mr, Deverman is now holding the office of School Director. He certainly felt decidedly the effects of poverty in his younger days ; on his arrival in this country he had but $15 ; this talent he improved, until now he has a farm of 225 acres, finely improved, the reward of his energy.


W. DOWNEY, physician and surgeon, Topeka; son of W. B. Downey, who was a native of Indiana, and is a farmer, now living in Allin Township, McLean Co., 111. His parents were English descent; his mother’s maiden name was Eaton, a daughter of John Eaton, of Indiana ; his father was also a farmer. Dr. Downey was born Nov. 4, 1851, near Martinsburg, Keokuk Co.. Iowa. At 41 years. he came with his parents, by team, as was customary in those days, to McLean Co., 111., and then engaged in farming and attending school. When 17 years of age, he began learning photography with Benjamin Gray, at Bloomington, 111. ; he continued this for one ye’ar, and then engaged to Gray and managed a gallery for him at Lincoln, Bloomington, and Fairbury ; while at the latter place, he bought this gallery from Gray, and moved it to Chatsworth, and there continued the business for six months In 1871, he quit photography, and returned to Allin Township, McLean Co., 111., where he attended school in the country. In 1872, he began teaching, which he continued, in connection with reading medicine, for over three years. In 1872, he attended one term at the Normal School, in McLean Co., Il; during the period he was teaching, he devoted every spare moment to the study of Latin and other branches congenial to his taste ; so earnest was he in the pursuit of the knowledge requisite to his future profession, that he studied on his way to and from school, and recited at night to John Q. Harris, who was Principal of the Stanford Schools. He has passed through many of the higher studies. In 1875-76, he attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk, Iowa, in which he graduated, and then engaged in practice with Dr. S. B. Wright, at Stanford. 111., for one year. In 1877, he came to Topeka, 111., where he has since practiced. He is an active and enthusiastic member of his profession, and enjoys an extensive practice. He has served a full share of those humble, but important public offices. He has twice been a member of the Board of Trustees of Stanford, 111., and was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Public Library at the same place, of which he was one of the founders. He is’ now Police Magistrate of Topeka, and also Town Treasurer.


MOSES ECKARD, farmer ; P. O. Topeka ; son of Henry Eckard, of Baltimore, Md. ; was of German descent. His mother’s maiden name is Glass. She was from Maryland, and of German descent. They raised a family of four, two of whom survive Mr. Eckard and Elizabeth Morton. She is now living on the old homestead of her father. Mr. Eckard was born Oct. 8, 1812, in Fredericks Co., Md. He worked at farming. In 1837, he left the scene of his childhood for Ohio, where he worked at farming, carpentering, and such work as he could get to do. He afterward went to Kentucky, and there worked by the month at $12 until 1839, when he settled in Fulton Co , 111., for one year, and then worked for Jacob Moss for one year. He then came to Mason Co., and worked by the month for a long time. In 1844, he began farming eighty acres a part of the present farm of 500 acres, which was then raw prairie, but now has become fine arable land. By marriage he added 200 acres, making 700 acres. He was married to Sarah E. Simmonds Feb. 15, 1844. She was a daughter of Pollard Simmonds, who was born May 2, 1799, and was a farmer and miller. His father was born in 1773. His mother’s maiden name was Ritter. She was the daughter of Richard Ritter, of Maryland, born in 1763. Their marriage occurred Aug. 7, 1821, in Kentucky. Mrs. Eckard was born June 29, 1822, in Mason Co., Ky. She was the oldest of nine children, of whom but five survive Her father and mother are dead. He died Feb. 14, 1864, in Illinois, and she died May 10, 1855, in Illinois. They have had six children; the living are Sarah, W. H., station agent at Topeka, James P. and John R.

H. ECKARD, express and station agent and grain merchant, Topeka ; son of Moses Eckard, who was born in Maryland and a mechanic ; his mother’s maiden name was Simmons ; daughter of P. Simmons, of Kentucky; she was born in 1823, in Kentucky. The subject of this sketch was born .May 1, 1846, on a farm in Mason Co., 111., and remained there engaged in farming until 1867, when he engaged in merchandising at Topeka for a year, after which he engaged as station and express agent at Topeka ; also in buying grain for McFadden & Simmons, at this place, which he still continues. He was married, in 1868, to Amelia J. Bandean, daughter of John and Jane Bandean ; her father was drowned in a lock at Louisville, Ky., about the year 1846; her mother died in July, 1874. Mr. Eckard has held the office of Township Collector and Clerk, and is now School Director. He has frugally used his means, and has secured a nice house and lot in Topeka. Has three children Freddie R., Elmer^M. and Harry W.


W. FLOWERS, merchant, Topeka ; son of Amos and Phoebe Flowers ; was born in Pennsylvania ; the former was a merchant, physician and minister of the M. E. Church ; he died July 30, 1861, in Ohio ; the maiden name of the latter was Longstreth, daughter of Miller Lougstreth, a noted farmer ; she died Aug. 12,1874. They had eleven children, all of whom died in infancy except four. Mr. Flowers was born Juno 9, 1846, in Palestine, Darke Co., Ohio, and remained there until 6 years old, when the family moved to Miami Co., Ohio, where Mr. Flowers remained until 1866, when he came alone to Mason Co., and settled, teaching school at the Walker district, Mason Co., for one term ; he then came to Topeka and engaged as clerk in the dry-goods store of Eckard & Nichols for two years ; he then went into partnership with his brother-in-law, Mr. L. S. Allen, in dry-goods, under firm name of Allen & Flowers, and was thus connected six years. They then drew out, and the firm became Colvin & Hoagland. He then engaged in buying grain at Topeka for tVo years, for himself, after which he engaged in clerking for the firm of S. V. Brown (now Oliver Brown), which he still continues. His first marriage was in 1869, to Cassie Kelley, daughter of James Kelley, a farmer and stock-raiser; she died July 5, 1873, leaving two children Harry W. and Ellis C. In 1875, he was married to Mattie Curtis, daughter of Alfred Curtis, of Butler Co., Ohio. By this wife he also had two children Edna and Laura B. He has held the office of Town Trustee of Topeka, and Director of Schools, which he still holds, and has also been Town Clerk and Postmaster. He and wife are members of the M. E. Church of Topeka.


H. HUGHES, farmer and stock-dealer; P. 0. Topeka ; son of Harry Hughes, of Scotland, who was awhile in Pennsylvania a physician and overseer of iron-works. His wife was Hannah Penchion, daughter of John Penchion, of Ireland. She was born in Pennsylvania. He died about 1849, and his wife some time afterward came to Ohio, where she died in 1871. They were both strict church members. The subject of this sketch was born Oct. 5, 1841, on a farm in Franklin Co., Penn., and there remained till 21, when he enlisted in the 21st P. V. C., and served nearly two years; was a Corporal, and was wounded in the thigh at the battle of Bunker Hill, Va. On his return from the war, he engaged in teaching and teaming, in Noble Co., Ind., for about two years. In the spring of 1865, he left Indiana, with but little means, and came to Mason Co., 111inois., having on his arrival at Havana only $13.60 ; he engaged at work in a livery stable for Joseph Taylor, of Havana, for three months, when having saved his means, he engaged in partnership with Taylor, and was thus connected for three years, when Mr. Taylor drew out and the firm changed to Hughes & Banould, and continued such until : 869, when they sold to Taylor, and Mr. Hughes engaged in farming on 40 acres of land, near Mason City, which he owned ; he was also renting in addition ; he continued his farming at said place for two years, during which time he added 80 acres, and then traded his 120 acres for the present farm of 250 acres to which he has since added, until he now has 450 acres, which have been obtained entirely by his own labor, and which he has improved and made of fine quality, and well adapted to cattle raising, which he makes a specialty. Mr. Hughes was married, in 1867, to Georgiana Taylor, daughter of Joseph Taylor, one of the early settlers of Mason Co., and once Mr. Hughes’ partner in the livery business; Mr. Taylor’s wife’s name was Honchin ; she was born in Kentucky, and is still living ; she had six children. Mr. Hughes has been no office-seeker, but has been connected with the schools. He and his wife are members of the Christian Church at Ebenezer. Their marriage blessed them with three children, all living Cleggitt, born April 28, 1869 ; Ethiel G.July 31, 1871 ; Lulia B., Nov. 7, 1875.


CONRAD HEINHORST, farmer and stock-dealer ; P. 0. Bishop’s Station ; son of William and Louisa Heinhorst of Germany ; the former was born in 1811 ; the lat- ter in 1811, also ; her name before marriage was Miller, daughter of Fred Miller ; they came to this country in 1854. The subject of this sketch was born in 1837, on a farm in Germany, and remained there until 17 years old, when he came with the family to Illinois, settling near Chicago and remaining there two years ; while there, three of the family died with cholera. They next moved to Mason Co., and settled at Long Point, near Bishop’s Station, where he lived until 1861, when he enlisted in Co. G, 38th I. V. I., and was four and a half years in the war, and was Corporal. On his return, he married Mary Himmel, daughter of John Himmel. They at once settled the present farm of 160 acres, 120 of which was inherited by his marriage, and 40 he has made by his own labor and management. They have five children Emma, Lula, Katie, Clara, and an infant deceased. He and his wife are members of the Evangelical Church at Bishop’s Station, and have been since 1866 ; he is now Trustee in the Church and Secretary in the Sabbath school ; he has been School Director six years, and is now ; he also held the office of Roadmaster.


CONRAD HIMMEL, farmer and stock-dealer; P. 0. Topeka; son of Adam Himmel, whose genealogy is given in the sketch of his son, T. F. Himmel, which appears in this work ; was born May 28, 1843, on a farm in Germany; when 3 years old, he came with his parents to Mason Co., 111., and settled on the farm where his father now lives, and remained there until 1867, at which time he made his home on the present farm of 300 acres, about one-half of which he has made by his own labor and management, and by his improvements, has transformed into a farm which ranks among the very best. In 1867, he was married to Elizabeth Bishop, of Illinois daughter of Henry Bishop, of Mason Co., 111.; .she was born in 1844; they began life together, on their new farm, which was but little improved, and by frugality, have made a happy home for their six children, five of whom are living Mary M., Evaline, Clara, Kemmit B. and Lewis W.; one deceased Conrad. Mr. Himmel united with the Evangelical Church at the age of 14, in which he still continues ; his wife is also a member. He has held the office of Church Trustee, and is now Steward, and has also been Superintendent of Sabbath school.

T. F. HIMMEL, farmer and stock-dealer; P. 0. Topeka; son of Adam Himmel, who was born in 1803, and came with, his family to Illinois in 1848. Being one of the early settlers of this county, he early engaged in improving the raw prairie, and by the assistance of his industrious companion, whose maiden name was Wise, they had gathered a portion of this world’s goods ere their allotted threescore years had passed. This accumulation has been handed down to their nine children. They were both church members of the Evangelical Association, in which communion she died in 1866. She was born in 1804, and of course did not reach the allotted span of life, as has her companion who is now 76 years old, with a prospect of adding yet more years to a ripe old age. The subject of this sketch was born April 17, 1851, on a farm in Mason Co., 111., where he remained with his father, until married, June 6, 1871, to Elmira Yunker, daughter of Lawrence Yunker, of Germany. She was born May 16, 1854, and came with her people to Illinois, in 1860; they now live in Peoria Co. After marriage they settled on the old homestead of their father, of 1 90 acres, half of which he has made by his own labor and management, and the rest was inherited ; his aged father, of whom we have spoken, makes his home with him. Their marriage blessed them with four children Annie, Frank, Liddie and Elmira ; he and his wife are members of the Evangelical Church at Bishop’s Station, in which association’s Sabbath school, he has held the offices of Librarian and Treasurer. Mr. Himmel makes a specialty of shelling corn for the public. He is agent for Smith’s American and the Mendota Organ Companies, and takes quite an interest in music, an enthusiasm which began in 1870, during which year, he attended the Northwestern College, at Plainfield, Will Co., 


JOHN W. HIMMEL, farmer and stock-dealer; P. 0. Topeka; son of Adam Himmel, of Germany, who came to Illinois in 1846, and is still living in Quiver Township. Mr. Himmel’s mother’s maiden name was Weiss, daughter of Henry Weiss, of Germany^ teacher and musician. The subject of this sketch was born Aug. 12, 1830, in Germany, and remained there until 16, occupied with going to school at Weinheim ; in 1846. he came to New Orleans, and shortly afterward to St. Louis, Mo., and was engaged in the Arsenal, making cartridges for the Mexican war, continuing for five years, when he came to Mason Co., 111., and engaged in working on a farm for his uncle George Himmel for four years; he then went to making rails ; in 1854, he began farming fur himself, on a farm now owned by J. Shrine, and remained there four years ; in 1858, he bought the present farm of 160 acres, which he has made one of fine quality ; he has added largely to his land, owning also quite an amount in Iowa. His marriage with Elizabeth Pfeit, daughter of John Pfeit, of Germany, was celebrated in 1 854 , nine children were the fruit of this union. . In 1851, Mr. Himmel experienced relig- ion in the Evangelical Association, in which work he throws his whole soul, and has been a local minister since 1858; his wife and part of the children are members of the same denomination ; he has held offices in the church, and was Township Collector for several years, and is, at present, Township Treasurer and Assessor, and has been for ten years ; he is also Treasurer of the Farmers’ Fire Insurance Company, of Mason Co.; he prides himself on securing for his children valuable literature ; to record, here, what friends and neighbors have said to us of him would appear too much of flattery for these pages.


W. KELLEY, farmer ; P. 0. Topeka ; son of Samuel and Anna Kelley ; the former was born in Delaware in 1773, and was a farmer and millwright; his wife was born about 1788, in Delaware ; her maiden name was Needles. The subject of this sketch was born Jan. 8, 1819, in Delaware, where he remained until 1829,. when the family moved by team to Ohio, settling near Dayton, and engaged in farming (or rather, the subject of sketch, some time, subsequently, engaged in blacksmithing) ; during the time they were there, Mr. Kelley’s father died, thus leaving his son in care of a widowed mother, who came with him to Illinois in 1854, and settled on the farm where they now reside; this farm, of 305 acres, was, at that time, raw prairie, but now, by his labor, has become fine, arable land ; the means by which Mr. Kelley acquired and improved this farm were entirely the fruits of his own labor. His marriage with Clarissa Benham, daughter of R. Benham, of Miami Co., Ohio, was celebrated in 1843; seven children were the fruit of this union three are deceased Joseph, Cassie and William ; four living Clarence .(who taught school and graduated at Lincoln University in 1879, and is now reading law with Dearborn & Campbell, at Havana), Mollie, Frank and Charlie. Mr. Kelley has filled a full ^hare of those humble, but important and useful positions in the schools, and as Township Trustee, and is now a member of the Board of Supervisors, elected in 1873, and has been an active member ever since. 


DAVID KEPFORD, ‘farmer; P. 0. Topeka; son of David Kepford, of Pennsylvania; born in 1803, and was a farmer, plasterer, stone and brick mason and car- penter. His mother’s maiden name was Bartel daughter of Mr. Bartel who died when she was quite young; David Kepford was born Jan. 29, 1836, on a farm in Ohio, and remained there until 7 years old, when the family moved by team to Indiana and settled in Noble Co., where they engaged in farming, plastering, brick and stone work and carpentering; in 1857, he came to Illinois and settled on the present farm of 120 acres, earned mostly by their own management. He married, in 1858, Hannah Colwcll, daughter of William Colwcll, a local minister of the M. E. Church. He died in 1861. His wife still survives, and makes her home near Bloomiugton, 111., with her daughter; they have six children Mary A., Luella G., Emma, Charlotte, Claretta, and one not named ; ,he has held school offices. He and his wife are members of the M.E. Church, of Topeka, in which he has held office as Steward, and is, at present, a Director of same.


MRS. JANE LITTELL, farmer ; P. 0. Topeka ; daughter of Stephen Brown, a farmer of New Jersey ; her mother’s maiden name was Bishop, daughter of James Bishop. The subject of this sketch was born Jan. 9, 1815, on a farm in New Jersey ; remained there until married, in 1833, to Aaron Littell, of New Jersey. They settled in New Jersey for four or five years, and, in 1840, they came to Illinois, and settled in Greene Co., and there engaged in farming, renting for three years, when they came to Mason Co., 111., and soon entered 80 acres of land, which they settled on, and which has since been their home. They have increased this to 240 acres, and have made it a tine farm. Mr. Aaron Littell was son of Nathaniel Littell, whose wife’s maiden name was Cosner ; he has held the office of Supervisor of Quiver Township, and was purchasing agent for the Grangers, which he held up to the time of his death, in 1875. He and his wife were members of the Baptist Church of Mt. Bethel, N. Y.; their urikm blessed them with ten children, three now dead Sophy, William, Carrie, wife of Ver Bryck ; the living are Stephen, Harriet M., George W. C., Nathaniel, Kate, Esther and Libbie.


T. LESOURD, farmer ; P. 0. Topeka ; son of Joseph and Rachel Lesourd. The former was born in 1809, in Ohio, and was a farmer of that State ; his wife’s name was Gossard, daughter of Charles Gossard, of Maryland ; she is still living with her husband, in Topeka, 111. C. T. Lesourd was born Feb. 4, 1843, on a farm in Butler Co., Ohio, and remained there until 24, engaged in farming and horse-dealing. He commenced working for himself when about 19, on his father’s farm, in partnership with Wm. G. Lesourd. In 1867, he came to Mason Co., 111., settling and engaging in farming ; he rented of Caleb Slade, two years ; in 1867, he bought the present farm, but did not settle on it until 1869 ; he rented the farm to J. C. Newlin. In 1870, he married Vallora Curtis, daughter of A. W. Curtis, a farmer of Butler Co., Ohio ; she was born in 1844, attended school at Oxford, Ohio, and has taught school ten years. They have two children, Elvyn and Alfred. His wife is a member of the M. E. Church at Topeka. He has held offices connected with the schools and roads, and was elected Constable in 1876, which he still holds. He has 100 acres of land under fine improvement.


C. LEMASTERS, wagon-maker and carpenter, Topeka ; son of P. W. Lemaster, of Kentucky, who was of French descent, a farmer, and an early settler of Hancock Co., 111.; he came to Mason Co. in 1869, and is now in Nebraska ; his wife’s maiden name was Crabb, daughter of Vincent Crabb, of Ohio; she died in 1865, in Illinois. J. C. Lemasters was born April 4, 1846, on a farm in Brown Co., Ohio, and remained there until 2 years old, wheu he came with the family to Hancock Co., 111., and there remained until 1863, when he came to Fulton Co., 111., and engaged in working by the month for three months, afterward returning to Ohio and working on a farm for his uncle, V. M. Crabb, and soon after removed to Fulton Co., and engaged on a farm for Miles & Warner for two years. In 1867, he came to Mason County, and engaged in teaching at Ebenezer, afterward teaching at the Bishop Schoolhouse, and in Topeka. He then engaged in merchandising, in partnership with T. J. Metzler, for six months ; Mr. Metzler then withdrew, and Lemaster continued the business for six months, and then moved the stock to Lone Tree, Neb., where he continued in mercantile business for six months, and then engaged in farming for four years. In 1878,  he returned to Mason Co., and soon engaged in carpentering and wagon-making at Topeka, in which he still continues. He was married, in 1870, to Libby Todd, daughter of Joseph Todd, and sister of. Thomas and George Todd, whose sketches appear elsewhere; she was born Aug. 15, 1845. They have two children Lena M. and Clara R. Mr. Lemaster has held the office of Town Clerk, and is at present Clerk ; he was School Director in Nebraska. He and his wife are members of the M. E. Church at Topeka, of which he is Steward; he is also Vice President of the Sabbath schools of Quiver Township, and is also a Sunday-school teacher at Topeka.


M. McREYNOLDS, farmer; P. 0. Topeka ; son of Robert McReynolds, who was born April 13, 1791, and was a turnpike builder, railroad contractor, canal digger,

distiller and farmer ; he came to Illinois in 1838; was a farmer during his career in Illinois, except while in’the office of County Judge and Assessor. He married Susanna Moyer, daughter of John Moyer, of German descent; she was born Nov. 14, loOl, in Pennsylvania ; they had nine children, six of whom survive. Robert McReynolds died Nov. 15, 1872. J. M. McReynolds was born Sept. 8, 1822, in Columbia Co., Penn. In 1838, the family came by team and rail to Peoria, 111.; shortly afterward, his father bought and settled on some land in what is now Havana Township, where J. M. remained until 1847. January 22, 1846, he was married by Rev. T. C. Lapas, of the M.E. Church, to Catharine A. Dentler; their children were Robert H., Lemuel W., Eliza J. (who has taught school), Eugene, Ely, Fannie A. and Willis D. His wife died Dec. 18, 1855 ; she was a member of the M. E. Church. He was married, Feb. 2, 1860, to Mary Cadwalader; by this marriage he was blessed with seven children Clara C., Adelbert C., Luella M., Oscar R., an infant, deceased, John C. and Ralph. Mr. McReynolds has held the office of Supervisor for two terms and has been connected with the schools as Trustee and Director ; he was once Assessor of what was then Mason Plains Township. They are members of the M. E. Church at Topeka,IL. Mr. McReynolds settled on his present farm of 230 acres in 1847, obtained entirely by his own labor and management. He is devoted to the Church and to his family, who cherish him as a faithful and loving father. 


C. McINTIRE, farmer and dealer in stock, Havana ; son of William Mclntire, who was born in Ireland, and came to Philadelphia, Penn., when quite young, and learned street- paving ; he died in 1854, being killed by horses running away. His mother’s maiden name was Wilson, daughter of William Wilson, of Danish and German descent, and an early settler of New Jersey. H. C. Mclntire was born May 12, 1824, in Philadelphia, and remained there until 16, when they moved to New Jersey, and were there until 1840, at which time they moved to Illinois by team, as was customary in those days, and settled in Jersey Co., 111., on a farm which they bought, and engaged in farming and running a threshing machine. Top wages on the farm during part of this time were $9 per month. In the winter of 1845-46, he made two trips to New Orleans, driving cattle for Robbins & Hayes, of St. Louis. In March, 1846, he began farming, renting of Russell, of Jersey Co., 111., for two years ; he afterward ran a machine in connection with his farming. . Mr. Mclntire worked with the first thresh- ing machine and cleaner that ever ran in Illinois, which was in 1841; in 1850, he bought a machine in partnership with C. S. Thompson, one year afterward buying him out. In 1851, he moved to Mason Co., settling in Havana Township, and, in the fall of 1851, he bought the present farm of 80 acres, and, in the spring of 1863, they settled on the same. Nov. 28, 1852, he was married to Lucy T. Wheeler, daughter of John P. Wheeler, of Maryland ; he was a farmer, miller and tavern-keeper. Her mother’s name was Payne, a cousin of Zachary Taylor, the President ; also cousin of Col. Richard M. Johnson ; she was born Dec. 12, 1833, in Kentucky, and came to Illinois when quite young. Ten children were the fruit of this marriage William (deceased), Fannie M., Emma (deceased), Lizzie, Mary (deceased), Susan and Johnny (twins, both deceased), Deborah, Hudson, Freddie (deceased). Mr. Mclntire makes a specialty of fine fruits, and is at present breeding fine horses. He has been no office- seeker, but was Vice President of the first Agricultural and Horticultural Society of Mason Co.; was Corresponding Secretary and Secretary of the same.


GEORGE W. TODD, farmer ; P. 0. Topeka ; is a son of Joseph Todd, and brother of Thomas Todd, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. The subject of these notes was born in December, 1848, in Ohio; <when quite young, he came with the family to Mason Co., 111., where they made their future home ; when 20 years old, he began farming, which he still continues. In 1870, he was married to Kate Atwater, a daughter of William Atwater; she was born April 7, 1849, in Mason Co., 111. ;-they settled on a part of the old homestead of his father, and soon afterward sold it to his sister and moved to Nebraska, where he farmed on a claim of 160 acres ; they were there nearly two years, and then returned to Illinois, and soon afterward bought eighty acres of the old homestead, which is his present abode ; he has made good improvements. Mr. Todd has been no office-seeker, and hence has confined his whole attention to farming and stock-raising ; they have two children Lillie and Emma.


THOMAS H. TODD, farmer; P. 0. Topeka; is a son of Joseph Todd, of Maryland, who was born about 1800, and died in 1870, and was a farmer, and one of the early settlers of Mason Co., 111. His wife’s maiden name was Nancy DeWitt, daughter of Peter DeWitt, a farmer of Pennsylvania; she was born Oct. 1, 1812, in Pennsylvania, and died May 6, 1860. The subject of this sketch was born Nov. 23, 1841, in Ohio; when 12 years old, he came with the family to Illinois, and settled with them on Fisk’s farm in Mason Co., for one year ; they then farmed for Coon until 1854, when they moved upon the present farm of 240 acres, which is now of fine quality ; the old homestead contains 400 acres ; their father remained there until death, at which time the farm was divided among the children, and Mr. Todd bought out some of the heirs, and has now 240 acres. In 1861, he enlisted in Co. A, 28th I. V. I., and was there until the close : he was Sergeant. On his return from the war, he engaged in farming, which he still continues. In 1872, he was married, by Rev. Henry E. Decker, to Martha J. Duncan, daughter of John Duncan, of Pennsylvania ; her mother’s maiden name was Greer. Mrs. Todd was born Feb. 2, 1844, in Pennsylvania, and came to Illinois in 1862 ; her father is dead ; her mother is still living ; thev have three children: Joseph C., born Nov. 12, 1874; Annie E., Nov. 20, 1876, and Johnny, Feb. 14, 1879. He has held offices of schools and roads, and is a member of the Patrons of Husbandry ; he and wife are members of M. E. Church at Topeka.


W. VER BRYCK, farmer and teacher; P. O. Topeka ; is the son of Richard VerBryck, who was born in 1873, in New Jersey, and was, in his younger days, a cab- inet-maker, afterward a sailor and ship-carpenter until he was about 33, when he began painting portraits and general miniature paintings ; this he continued until his death, which occurred in 1867. The people of Indiana well remember this fine artist, and will long continue to praise his works. His companion (Miss Whitenack) was a daughter of Andrew Whitenack, of New Jersey; she was born in 180S and died in 1861. The subject of this sketch was born Nov. 25, 1846, in Warren Co., Ohio, near Lebanon, the seat of the National Normal School ; at the age of 10, he came, with the family, to Johnson Co., Ind., where his father and mother departed from him ; he there attended school at the Hopewell Academy, preparatory to attending the State University at Indianapolis, Ind.. which he entered in 1862, and failed to complete the course on account of a disease of the eyes; in 1865, he completed a course in the Commercial Department at Indianapolis; in 1871, he came to Champaign Co.,IL, and farmed one year; afterward came to Mason Co., 111., and bought and settled eighty acres of land three and one-half miles from Mason City, which he farms during the summer; in the winter of 1872, he began teaching, and has taught every winter since but one ; he taught two terms at Topeka, 111. ; he is engaged for the winter term at the Walker District, Mason Co. He was married, in 1871, to Caroline Littell, of Mason Co., daughter of Aaron Littell, a farmer, one of the early settlers of Mason Co. This marriage of Mr. Ver Bryck to Miss Littell blessed them with one child Walter 0. He has held the office of Town Clerk.



Village of Topeka, Illinois History




The village of Topeka is situated about seven miles northeast of the city of Havana, on the P., P. & J. R. R., and is the only village embraced within the limits of Quiver Township. It was surveyed by J.. W. Boggs, for Moses Eckard and Richard Thomas, in 1858. In order to secure the town site, Eckard and Thomas purchased 180 acres of David Beal, and 80 acres were made into a town plat. Forty acres were donated to the railroad company in order to secure the station. The first residence in the village was erected by J. L. Yates, in 1860. He was a blacksmith by trade, and had been plying his trade at McHarry’s Mill, prior to locating in the village.

He was followed, a short time afterward, by E. Y. Nichols, M. D., who built the second residence, and, as a matter of course, was the first resident physician of the place. Harrison Venard was the third resident of the place. Venard was from Ohio, and, in company with a Mr. Rosebrough, who was also from the Buckeye State,opened the first store in the village, near the close of 1860. The firm of Venard & Rosebrough, after a few months, became that of Venard & Musselman. A second store was opened in 1863 or 1864. by Musselman and Aaron Littell. The latter came from New Jersey, but had settled in the county andin the township in 1843. Others came, in from time to time, and other stores and shops were opened, till, at one time, Topeka seemed to be on the highway to prosperity.

But, like many of our Western towns, it attained its growth almost in the dawn of its existence, and, for some years past, it has remained stationary. A grain warehouse was built by Moses Eckard, in 1860. R. W. Stires, of St. Louis, was the first to operate in grain at this point. R. R. Simmonds, of Havana, and Porter Walker have operated in grain at different times. The grain was handled in sacks and shipped on flats. In 1875,Flowers. Allen & Sherman built a very small and cheaply constructed elevator; this has been but little used since its completion. Low & Foster, through W. Eckard, handle the grain at present. About seventy thousand bushels is the average amount handled annually. A neat and substantial passenger depot was erected by the railroad company in 1872, which adds to the appearance of the village. Harrison Venard was the first agent at this point.

W. Eckard is the present gentlemanly agent, and has held the position since The Methodist Episcopal Church, the only house of public worship in the village, was erected in 1865, at a cost of nearly $4,300. Among the early communicants, we find the names of Lewis H. Ringhouse and wife, Mrs. Susan Colwell, David Kepford and wife, Caleb Slade and wife, Phillip Brown, John M. McReynolds and family. Rev. T. J. M. Simmons was the first Pastor of the Church. It has since enjoyed the labors of Revs. J. G. Mitchell, M. Pilcher, G. M. Grays, and others. Rev. L. A. Powell is the present officiating minister. The congregation is in a prosperous condition, and working harmoniously for the upbuilding of the cause. A Sunday school of fine interest is connected with the Church.

The post office at Topeka was established in the latter part of 1860, or early in 1861. Harrison Venard was the first Postmaster. The salary at no time has been princely, and those who have kept it have endured it as a necessary evil rather than from choice. J.F. Ruhl is the present incumbent. A neat frame school building was erected in 1867. It is not grand and imposing in its appearance, but is amply sufficient to accommodate the village urchins.


An act to incorporate the village of Topeka was approved by the Legislature April 10, 1869. Under this act, Samuel R. Yates, Phillip Brown and Robert G. Rider were named as Trustees of the village, their term of office to continue until the first Monday in April, 1870. The Board organized by electing S. R. Yates, President; L. S. Allen, Village Clerk ; Phillip Brown,Police Magistrate, and John Norman, Town Constable. The revenue of the village from license of any kind has been very limited, and whatever public improvements have been made have been paid for by direct taxation imposed upon the citizens, or by voluntary contribution.

The members composing the present Board are the following : Phillip Brown, D. W. Flowers, W. H. Eckard. The village officers are : Phillip Brown, President ; Theodore Bell, Town Clerk, and Dr. J. W. Downey, Police Justice. The business of the place is comprised in one general store, one drug, grocery and hardware store, one confectionery and two blacksmith-shops. Dr. J. W. Downey is the resi- dent physician, and is a well-read and successful practitioner. The population of Topeka does not exceed one hundred and fifty. Although the village site is the most eligible of any point along the route from Pekin to Havana, yet its proximity to the latter renders it altogether improbable that Topeka will ever be more than the pleasant little village of to-day, drawing its patronage and support from the immediate vicinity in which it is located.


Tomorrow- Biographical Sketches of Quiver Township


Missed Previous Articles?

Sherman Township 1

Sherman Township 2

Village of Easton

Bio Sketches of Sherman Township

Crane Creek Township 1

Crane Creek Township 2

Crane Creek Township 3

Bio Sketches of Crane Creek Township

Pennsylvania Township 1

Pennsylvania Township 2

Pennsylvania Township 3 and Teheran

Bio Sketches of Pennsylvania Township

Salt Creek Township 1

Salt Creek Township 2

Salt Creek Township 3

Bio Sketches of Salt Creek Township

Forest City Township 1

Forest City Township 2

Village of Forest City

Bio Sketches of Forest City Township

Quiver Township 1

Quiver Township 2

Village of Topeka

Bio Sketches of Quiver Township


–previous articles listed at bottom–



PART TWO Quiver Township

During the year 1842, a number of settlements were made in the township. Benjamin Ross, Daniel Waldron, William E. Magill, and George D. Coon were among the permanent settlers at the close of 1842. Ross was from Tennessee, and had settled in Cass County some years prior to coming to Mason. Waldron was from New Jersey, and remained a citizen of the township till the date of his demise, which occurred some years ago. William E. Magill came from the Quaker State to Menard County, and from there to Mason, as before stated,
and is one of the early settlers, who is still surviving. George D. Coon came from New Jersey, and settled in Greene County in 1839. At the same time, Stephen Brown, his father-in-law, and Robert Cross and Aaron Littell, brothersin-law, came and settled near him. In 1842, Mr. Coon came to Mason County, and settled in this township near the creek, and the following year moved to his present place of residence. Loring Ames, a native of the old Bay State, came West in 1818, and settled in St. Clair County, Illinois Territory.

In 1823, he moved to Adams County, and, in 1836, to what is now Mason County. In 1842, he became a citizen of Quiver, and at present resides on his farm near the village of Topeka. He served in the Black Hawk war, first as a private in Capt. G. W. Flood’s company, and later as a Lieutenant in the company of Capt. Pierce, of Col. Fray’s noted regiment. Rev. William Colwell, a native of England, emigrated to America in 1838, and first settled in Cass County, In February, 1841, he came to Mason County, and resided near Bath until the fall of 1842, at which time he removed to Quiver Township. He died in April, 1861, from the effects of a kick from a horse. He was a substantial citizen, a man of abilities and great personal worth. He served in the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a period of about forty years, and the result of his labors will only be known in that day when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed.

George Sleath settled in 1843, but did not remain long. He sold out to Robert Cross and moved away. In 1843, Cross and Littell came and settled on farms adjoining that of George D. Coon. These they improved and occupied until the date of their decease. Fred High, Henry Rakestraw and Freeman Marshall made settlements during the year 1843. High was from Tennessee, Rakestraw from Kentucky and Marshall was a nativeborn Hoosier. Some of the Rakestraws still reside in the township, near McHarry’s Mill, but the names of High and Marshall have long been absent from her citizenship. Moses Eckard, whose name occurs prominently in connection with the history of the village of Topeka, came from Maryland, and located in Fulton County in 1839. The following year, he came into what is now Mason County. In 1844, he was married to Sarah E. Simmonds, daughter of Pollard Simmonds, who settled in Havana Township in 1838, and built the mill elsewhere referred to.

In the fall following his marriage, he moved to his present place of residence, and has continuously lived there since. At the date of his settlement few, if any, others were living in the southeastern section of the township, all the settlements so far having been made along the bluff timber and in the central portion. In 1847, John M. McReynolds, whose father
had settled in Havana Township in 1838, located about two miles northeast of Moses Eckard’s. His residence still remains on the farm he first improved.

Hon. Robert McReynolds, the father of John M., came from Columbia County, Penn., in 1838, and settled some seven miles east of the present city of Havana, in Havana Township. In 1849, he became a citizen of Quiver Township, and, as he was at an early day officially connected with the interests of the county, we deem it proper to give some points of his life in this connection. In 1845, we find him a member of the Board of County Commissioners. To this office he was re-elected in 1846, and again in 1848 and 1849. In 1849, he was chosen Associate Justice with John Pemberton, Hon. Smith Turner being County Judge. In every position, public or private, conscientious integrity marked his course. He was an earnest and zealous advocate of the Gospel as taught by the Wesleys, and, having united with the M. E. Church in 1831, was not only a pioneer in this county but a pioneer in Methodism in the West. In building his first residence, an extra large room was provided, which was not only designed for the use of his family but also for religious worship.
Quarterly meetings, over which the venerable Peter Cartwright presided, were held here, and, on one occasion, fifty of the brethren and sisters were present for

The first Sunday school in the county was established at his house in 1841, and consisted of twelve teachers and twenty-one scholars. His death occurred in 1872. His son, following in the footsteps of his father, has been an efficient member of the Church since early boyhood, and for many years has held official relation to the congregation at Topeka. Stephen Brown, who
has already been mentioned as having settled in Greene County in 1839, ten years later became a citizen of Quiver. John Appleman, from New Jersey, Thomas Yates and George Ross, from the Buckeye State, became citizens as early, as 1848 or 1849. These all settled in the region of the township familiarly known as “Tight Row.” Appleman died some years ago, and Yates in 1876. Ross, after a residence of two years, returned to Qhio on a visit, and while there sickened and died. From 1850, the settlements increased so rapidly that any attempt to enumerate them in the order in which they occurred, would be a fruitless task.

Of one who came into the township in 1845, we must speak somewhat at length, as, perhaps, no one of her citizens is more widely or more favorably known. Hugh McIIarry, a native of Ireland, emigrated to America in 1825. He was but a “broth of a boy” of some eighteen or nineteen summers, who had come to try his hand at making a fortune in “Swate America.” He started in life in the land of his adoption penniless. Soon after coming, he engaged in labor on the Erie Canal, but the natural bent of his mind was toward milling. He soon obtained a situation in the mills at Louisville, Ky., where he remained till 1842. During his residence in Louisville, he became an ardent admirer of George D. Prentice, the veteran editor, of the Journal, and through its influence, was molded into a stanch Henry- Clay Whig. With this party he acted during its existence, and, on the formation of the Republican party, he was among the first to espouse its principles. In 1842, he came to Beardstown, Cass County, and again engaged in milling.

In 1843, he purchased the mill site on Quiver Creek, and, in 1845, constructed a grist-mill. Julius Jones, Charles Howell and William Pollard had built a dam and erected a saw-mill at this point some years previous. For the improvements made and the site, McHarry paid the sum of $1,500 cash. The saw-mill stood on the east bank of the creek, but when the grist-mill was constructed it was placed on the west bank, and, consequently, stands in Havana Township. A complete history of the enterprise will be given in connection with the sketch of that township. Mr. McHarry’s residence stands on the bank of the creek in Quiver Township, and amid its pleasant shades and quiet retreat he is quietly passing his declining years, enjoying the society of his children and friends and the large competency he has acquired by a life of honest toil and well-directed energy. He is by far the wealthiest man in the township, and owns a large amount of the best land in the county. Few citizens of the county are more widely known or more highly esteemed for their good qualities of head and heart, than Hugh McHarry, the miller.


Missed Previous Articles?

Sherman Township 1

Sherman Township 2

Village of Easton

Bio Sketches of Sherman Township

Crane Creek Township 1

Crane Creek Township 2

Crane Creek Township 3

Bio Sketches of Crane Creek Township

Pennsylvania Township 1

Pennsylvania Township 2

Pennsylvania Township 3 and Teheran

Bio Sketches of Pennsylvania Township

Salt Creek Township 1

Salt Creek Township 2

Salt Creek Township 3

Bio Sketches of Salt Creek Township

Forest City Township 1

Forest City Township 2

Village of Forest City

Bio Sketches of Forest City Township

Quiver Township 1

Quiver Township 2

Village of Topeka

Bio Sketches of Quiver Township



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

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.