Picture of Fram Residence of John Taylor
Click on image for larger picture.

WAYNESVILLE is situated in the extreme north-western part of the county, and formerly belonged to McLean county. It has the honor of containing the next oldest settlement in DeWitt, having been settled as early as 1825. Originally it was very evenly divided between prairie and timbered land, the latter being somewhat in excess of the former. At this writing plenty of good timber abounds, suitable to all the wants of the people. It is bounded on the north by McLean county, on the east by the township of Wapella, on the south by Barnett and on the west by Logan county, and contains 24 sections, or upwards of 15,000 acres.

Kickapoo creek enters the township in the north-west part of section fourteen and flows south-west, passing into Logan county from section thirty. Prairie creek enters from the north in section seventeen and empties into the Kickapoo nearly on the line between sections seventeen and twenty. Rock creek flows north and west through the township, and joins with the Kickapoo near the centre of section twenty. Other small streams abound, discharging their waters into some of the above mentioned creeks. From the above it will readily be seen that the natural drainage of the township is excellent, and yet the farmers are tiling largely; experience teaching them that it is money and labor well spent. The Illinois Midland Railway furnishes the transportation facilities, entering in the southern portion of section thirty, where it takes an easterly course to Waynesville Here it forms an elbow, trending southward and crossing the township line between sections thirty-one and thirty-two. The surface is somewhat diversified. Along the creeks it is quite broken, and in places approaches in form to small bluffs. The soil is comparatively shallow, but most excellent for the raising of wheat and blue grass. The prairies are slightly undulating and contain the rich alluvial soil of the world-renowned Grand Prairie.


The honor of taking the first steps toward civilization within the boundaries of Waynesville belongs to Prettyman Marvel and his wife Rebecca. Mr. Marvel was a native of Georgia, and his wife was a South Carolinian. Their parents were pioneers of Indiana, where their children grew up together. In May 1823, they were married, and the following year moved to Illinois and stopped in Sangamon county. February 1825, they moved to within a short distance of what is now Waynesville village in section 31, DeWitt county. Their mode of conveyance was a cart drawn by a yoke of oxen. It was ten o'clock at night before they halted. There was no light in the window —no warm friends or home to greet them. That night the snow formed their bed to rest upon and the starry heaven was their shelter. A few sticks gathered and fired by the side of a log furnished the only means of warmth. The next day they fixed up a temporary cabin by driving four notched posts into the ground. These were connected by poles and were overlaid with split slabs of wood for a roof. In time it was enlarged to two rooms by building an addition of the same kind. The former was aristocratically called a bed-room and the latter the sitting room. Let the present generation imagine, if they can, a "sitting room" with the ground for a floor, for such was the case with this mansion. The fire-place was outside of the entrance called a door. This consisted by hauling up before the entrance a fore and back log, within which the fire was built, and here the cooking and warming was done. It was found when the snow melted away in the spring that the cabin had unfortunately been built in a slight depression of ground. Water stood a foot deep in their rude domicile. This they remedied by pounding in pieces of dry-rot logs and filling up to a sufficient depth to make the rooms a passable place to stay in for the time being. During the spring and summer a more comfortable cabin was erected on a more favorable site. Of course this log cabin was quite pretentious for the times, and being such we will give a slight description of it as given to the writer by "Aunt Becca" Gambrel, formerly wife of Prettyman Marvel, the pioneer. It was a small log cabin about 12x16, and covered with split staves four feet in length, while the floor was mother earth. The fire place extended nearly across one end of the building, with stick and mud chimney of the olden time. The beds were constructed by placing poles between the cracks of the logs a certain distance apart and laid over with rived clap-boards; the shelves for the table-ware were prepared in the same manner. This same spring, Mr. Marvel broke a small piece of ground and planted it in corn and potatoes. This was the first farming done in the county with the exception of that performed by the Shugarts and Elisha Butler in Tunbridge, which was the same spring—1825. Wolves were then more plentiful than village dogs, and about as tame. It was very difficult to raise chickens or any of the small domestic animals, as the wolves were so bold that they would come up to the very door of the cabin, and would only leave when shot at or beaten off with clubs.

These lonely pioneers were cheered and encouraged in their new-found home by two children, mere babes then, John S. and James. They both grew to manhood, married, and raised large families; several of their representatives are yet living in the county. John and James died several years ago. Nine other children were born in the township, Nancy, Cynthia, Lavinia, Prettyman, Rebecca, Mary A., Wiley and George, all of whom are living but one, a twin to Nancy, who died without being named. All reside in the county except George and Lavinia. The latter lives in Vermillion county, this state, and the former in Nebraska. Mr. Marvel lived to see and enjoy the fruits of his labors, owning a large farm at the time of his death which occurred in the summer of 1842. In 1847, Mrs. Marvel was again married to Thomson P. Gambrel of Indiana. He died in 1877, his wife surviving him. Mrs. Gambrel is at this writing an inhabitant of the village of Waynesville and enjoying excellent health and vigor of mind for one of her age, being in her seventy-sixth year. She is the oldest resident of the county, and has had eighty-six grand-children and thirty-two great-grand-children.

John Barr, a brother of Mrs. Gambrel, came here but a few days after Mr. Marvel, and lived in the same cabin with his brother-in-law until spring, when he built a small cabin just over the line in Logan county. Mr. Barr is upwards of eighty years of age, and still resides near where he settled in the spring of 1825.

Samuel Curtright made his advent here the next day after Mr. Marvel, and settled on section thirty-two. He went to work at once to erect his cabin, which in architecture was much after the style of his neighbor's. He had quite a family, none, however, large enough to aid him in his pioneer efforts. In March 1828, he entered the W. of the N. W. of the above section. He remained here for several years, when he moved with his family to what is now Clintonia township, where he became an active settler, building the first corn mill. He died several years ago; some of the family yet reside in the county. Felix Jones was also a pioneer of 1825. He moved here from Indiana, having a wife and a large family of children. Soon afterward his wife died, when he married again, and drifted to parts unknown.

In the spring of 1826, John Glenn with his wife Jane and his son-in-law, Abraham Hobbs—then a widower—and the latter's four children, moved in and squatted in the Kickapoo timber, in section twenty-nine. Mr. Glenn was a native of South Carolina, and migrated to Tennessee in 1803, and from thence to Indiana, and afterward to Illinois as above stated. He remained here but a few years, when he moved with his grand-children further west, where he died. Samuel P. Glenn, a son of the former, was born in South Carolina, and lived with his father until they moved to Indiana. Here he married Ruth Scott, and in the spring of 1827 moved here and settled in section twenty-six, and was one of two persons to make the first land entries in DeWitt county. His mode of conveyance was an ox wagon peculiar to travel in those times. He bought the "improvement right" of his brother, Thomas M., which was a few acres of ground and a pole cabin. To use the language of Mr. Glenn, "It was so meager and shabby that a person of today would not stable his horse in it." But it was the best he could do until he could build a better, and thus he and his young wife moved into it. Mr. Glenn is yet living, and one of the oldest citizens of the county, as well as a prominent farmer. After the county was organized in 1839, he was among the first to represent the people in the State Legislature. He served several years in the capacity of justice of the peace. He has been twice married; his second wife's name was Mary Riley. No children were born from the first marriage, and but one from the present union, Margaret M. who died but a few years ago. Mr. Glenn and his wife are now residing at the old homestead in section twenty-six, where he first settled in 1827. Thomas M. Glenn, brother of the above, was also born in South Carolina, and was with his father when he moved to Indiana. In 1825 he came to Illinois, Sangamon county, where he stopped until the following spring, when he located in section thirty-five, Waynesville Township. He had a wife and nine children; seven daughters and two sons. When he brought his family to this state his mode of conveyance was with pack-horses, but he had purchased an ox team and wagon before moving to Waynesville. A small log cabin was soon erected, and the family made comfortable. That summer he broke a small patch of ground and raised a crop. He remained here about twenty years and improved one of the best farms in the county. In 1855 he moved with his family to Iowa. But one of the family are now residing in the county, Nancy, wife of William Fruit.

James K. Scott, a brother-in-law of the Glenns, and one of the most prominent of the pioneers, was a native of South Carolina, and moved to Indiana in an early day. He caught the Illinois fever—migration—which was then prevailing, and, in company with Samuel P. Glenn, landed here in the spring of 1827. He and Mr. Glenn made the two first land entries in the county, being the 3d of November, 1827; the former locating in section 27, and the latter in section 26. Mr. Scott brought his family with him, consisting of a wife and two sons; Lorenzo Dow and John W. Five children were born to them in the county—Martin H., Crafton P., Jane C., Polly A., and Lucinda. The former three—Lorenzo, John, and Martin—died several years ago. The daughters are living in Missouri, and James C. and Crafton P. are residing near Kenney, in Tunbridge township. Mr. Scott was a very active and useful citizen in his day. He represented the people in the State Legislature two terms, was widely known as a pioneer preacher, besides holding minor offices of trust and honor. He died several years ago, lamented by many warm friends. His remains lie in one of the oldest cemeteries in the county, situated on the premises of Samuel P. Glenn, in section twenty-six.

One of the peculiar pioneers, in fact such an one as we sometimes read about in "border life" novels, was Sylvanus Shurtleff, a native of Vermont. He was a peculiar composition of genius and romance. He was of a restless, roaming disposition, and had lived more or less with the Indians. Indeed, he was initiated and became one of the tribe of the Pottowatomies in 1823. He remained with them for some time, and in 1827 drifted to Waynesville, then called Big Grove. From him comes the origin for the name of Salt Creek. He says that at one time the Indians manufactured salt upon its banks, hence its name, Salt Creek. A few years later we find him in DeWitt township, where he built the first mill, a description of which will be found in the history of that township. It would be needless to add, that as civilization advanced, he packed up his possessions and moved further west. It is said that he is yet living somewhere in the far west, just in the skirts of barbarism.

Abraham Onstott was born in Kentucky, and left his native state in the spring of 1823 and arrived in Illinois in May of the same year. He first settled with his brother David, who had preceded him, in the forks of Salt Creek and Sangamon river, Sangamon county. In the fall of 1824, he married Miss Mary Branson; he remained here until the spring of 1829, when he moved to Waynesville, and located in section 28. Prior to this, Dec. 2, 1828, he had entered the west half of the north-west quarter of the above section. Mr. Onstott relates that he has seen at one time seventy head of deer feeding together, not far from his present residence; and at that time the nearest post-office was at Springfield, and that they received their mail semi-annually. He is now a very old man, living at the old home in section 28, and is regarded by a large circle of friends as one of the kindest of neighbors and best of citizens.

John J. McGraw was born in South Carolina and subsequently migrated to Kentucky. In the spring of 1830 he with his father-in-law, Tillmon Lane, moved to Illinois, and located in section 34, on the farm now owned by James Strange, near Waynesville. On their arrival they had no house to move into; they therefore did the best they could, which was to clean out the stable of one of the old settlers, Martin Scott, and move into it. Imagine, if you can, a log stable accommodating a family of ten persons for a whole summer; but such was the case with these pioneers. That summer they raised a crop of twenty acres of corn on the land now owned by Amos Dick. In the fall, they each built cabins in section 25. The spring following they broke prairie and raised small crops of corn and potatoes. In course of time they were in possession of fair farms Here Mr. Lane lived until his death, which occurred in 1835. Mrs. Lane resided at the old homestead until the spring of 1852, when she died. Two grand-daughters and one grandson are yet residing at or near the old farm. Only two children of this large family survive their parents—Mary, wife of James W. McCord, in Harp township, and Rebecca Crum, who lives in Kansas.

Judge J. J. McGraw is now residing in Clinton, a hale and hearty old man, and one of the representative citizens of DeWitt county. He was elected first county clerk after the county was organized, and served as such for eighteen years; was school commissioner for the same length of time; appointed master in chancery by Judge Treat; served as United States assistant assessor under Abraham Lincoln, and was re-appointed to the same office by President Grant. He was elected police magistrate of the city of Clinton for six years, chosen county judge, which office he filled upwards of three years; served several terms as justice of the peace, and is now filling that office, not so much for the emoluments, but that he may have something to do. He has, indeed, been a busy and useful citizen. The first Sabbath-school organized in the county was conducted by him at the house of Edward W. Fears, near Waynesville, in the fall of 1830. A short time ago he informed us that he had solemnized the rites of matrimony for 356 persons, the histories of whom would undoubtedly be a peculiar medley. Mr. McGraw's family consisted of his wife and four children,—one son and three daughters—only two of whom are now living, Leander S., and Nellie C., wife of A. R. Phares; both are residents of the city of Clinton. Mrs. McGraw died the 25th of December, 1877, at the advanced age of 70 years. Judge McGraw is in the 76th year of his age, and looks and appears as though he might become a centenarian.

John B. Jones was born in Ohio, and migrated to Indiana at an early day. In the fall of 1830 he moved with his family to this township and settled in section 21. He made the trip with an ox-team, and on his arrival hastily threw up a pole cabin. His family were his wife and five children. The children's names were as follows: Caroline, Adolphus, Lavinia, Ellen, and John M. Several other children were born to them after coming to the county. John M. resides in the same section that his father located on, and is a very prominent farmer; Charley, a younger brother, lives on the old farm, a comfort to his mother in her old age; John B., the pioneer, died about twenty-five years ago.

William W. Dunham settled in section 29 in 1831. He was a native of Massachusetts, and moved to Rhode Island, where be married Miss Mary Greenman. In 1815 he migrated to Ohio, where he remained for sixteen years, and from thence to Waynesville, as above stated. His family consisted of his wife and five children—Thomas E., J. P., William S., Mary, and Amy. Mr. Dunham died in 1833; his wife survived him upwards of thirty years. But one of the family is living in the county, J. P. Dunham, who lives in Waynesville, and is a prominent merchant and farmer.

George Isham, a native of New Hampshire, settled here in the same year as Mr. Dunham. He had a wife and two children—Andrew B., and Polly Ann. The latter is the only one living of the family, and is now the wife of James Cook, in Waynesville.

Another of the hardy pioneers was John Robb. He was native of Tennessee, and emigrated to Illinois in the spring of 1829, making a halt of one year within sight of Springfield. The spring following he moved with his family into this township, and settled in section 27, a part of which he had entered in the fall of 1829. He had a family of five sons and five daughters, as follows: James R., Samuel H., Wm. R., Eli H., Thos. C., Elizabeth G., Ann C., Isabel L., Mary Jane, and Laura C. The mother's name was Barbara. As they had no house when they came, the family camped by the side of a log, and built a rail pen in which to stow away their furniture until they could construct a cabin. This, when built, was of the rudest kind. The door, for some time, was nothing but a bed-quilt suspended from the upper part of the door-jamb. The small stock, consisting of four sheep, were stowed away in the cabin with the children, to keep them from the ravenous wolves. This was the beginning of what, in after years, proved a prosperous family.

E. H. Robb, a son of John, who now resides in Barnett township in section 9, relates the following incident, to a part of which be was an eye-witness. It was one of the trials of the "deep snow," in the winter of 1830-31: Josiah Clifton, John Clifton, and David Norfleet, left the old mill on the Kickapoo with two yoke of oxen and sleds, each containing a sack of meal, bound for their homes near where Clinton is now situated. The track was dim, the snow fell very fast, and soon it was almost impossible to keep the road or make any head-way in traveling. They soon became bewildered, and their teams gave out. They unyoked the cattle, set the yokes by the sled, and started on foot to find, if possible, some cabin. By this time the snow was waist deep, and they were obliged to take turns in going before to break a path. Several times they burrowed in the snow to rest, that they might retain their strength to complete their journey. A little before sundown they came in sight of a cabin. It was John Robb's meager dwelling. They were nearly frozen and exhausted. Mr. Robb and his son James helped them over the yard fence and into the house. The Clifton boys had sufficient vitality left to get into the cabin without aid, but Norfleet was so exhausted that they were obliged to carry him in. Their faces were covered with ice and snow, and their hands were badly frozen. They remained here several days before they were in a condition to reach home. One yoke of their oxen wandered to the cabin of Thomas M. Glenn that same night, —the other was found the next day bewildered in the deep snow, and was driven in and cared for.

Joshua Cantrall and his brother Z. G. Cantrall, were natives of Virginia, but emigrated from Ohio here in the fall of 1835; both had considerable families. The former settled in section 32. His family consisted of his wife Rachel, and ten children; Thirza, wife of John Thompson; Zebulon; Mahala, wife of Elijah Hull; Polly, William, Levi, Nancy, Isham C., and Eli He was an active church member, and in the spring of 1836, took measures to organize a Presbyterian society, which was effected in June of the same year. He died the 11th of August, 1840. Isham C., a son, now resides in Waynesville, an old and respected citizen. Z. G. Cantrall, brother of Joshua, died many years ago. R. D. Taylor, another early settler, was born in Tennessee and came to Illinois in 1836. He was brought up on the farm, but when he was 18 years of age he entered the Princeton College, Ky., and studied for the ministry. He was an ardent worker in the cause, and was the first to establish a Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Marion, now DeWitt. Mr. Taylor gives an account of the manner of hunting deer and wolves in an early day. He says, "I well remember in the summer of 1836, soon after coming to the country arrangements were made for a general deer hunt. The plan was to form a circle of about ten miles in diameter. All hands turned out for miles around, men, boys and dogs. Within this circle there would be enclosed at least fifty or a hundred deer, and wolves too numerous mention. No great excitement prevailed at first, only now and then the crack of a single rifle as some stray deer attempted to escape through the lines. But as the circle became smaller, and the huntsmen closer together, with the deer and wolves enclosed as it were within a wall of fire, then the excitement commenced which beggars description. The deer would run and leap from side to side, only to be shot down by the nearest marksman. Some would escape in the hurly burly excitement, but many a trophy would be left to the hunters on the field of battle". Mr. Taylor moved from Marion to LeRoy, McLean County, several years ago, where he still resides, well known as one of the pioneer preachers of Central Illinois.

Among other early settlers were Thomas Cuppy, Jonathan Atherton, Edward W. Fears, Wm. Branson, John Strange, Nicholas and Enoch Lundy, Henry Atherton, Matthew Hammett, now living in section 9, George Robb, and J. C. Riley.

Many are the accounts of privations and hardships, mingled with pleasures, as recited by a few of the remaining pioneers. The friendly feeling and hospitality then existing are unknown to this generation of greed and selfishness. A stranger was always welcome, and remained a guest of the family as long as he desired. The women manufactured their own clothing from wool and flax. A young man was in full dress with a linen shirt and buckskin pants. All of the early settlements were made in the timber, the prairies not being improved until the railroads developed the country. The old settlers date every event from the winter of the "deep snow," —1830-31. It is their almanac—their substantial guide to early and subsequent data. It is the important epoch in the pioneer history of Central Illinois. Indeed the "deep snow" prevailed throughout the western States and territories. On account of this severe visitation, the early settlers suffered untold hardships and privations. The snow commenced falling early in December, and continued without abatement throughout the winter. The measurement in the timber was upwards of four feet deep. The stumps standing, where trees had been cut for fire-wood, after the snow had passed away, had the appearance of being felled by giants, as some of them measured over six feet in height. For weeks the settlers were buried in their cabins, and only went forth, as food and fuel demanded, from pure necessity. The people lived on rye, hominy and potatoes, as they could not have meal, the mills being inaccessible for the grinding of their corn. Apropos of this we will here relate a circumstance of true charity, equal to the suffering and subsequent relief of the Russian peasants, the story of which is so familiar to every school-boy in the land. It was at this time that Judge McGraw, and one of his neighbors had exhausted their little store of corn, wherewith to feed their families; neither had they money to purchase it. They counseled together, and concluded that they would make the trip, a short distance, to Mr. John Barr's, and see if they could not obtain enough to supply the wants of life. They accordingly mounted their horses, and by evening reached Mr. Barr's cabin. They made their wants known, informing him in the meantime that they had no money to pay for the corn, but that they were strong and willing to work, and when the snow went away in the spring, they would pay him by making rails. Mr. Barr replied that they could have all the corn they wanted, and pay for it as per agreement. And now comes the point of this anecdote that will, perhaps, surprise this generation of selfishness and money-getting. Said Mr. Barr, "I had a man here the other day wanting a few bushels of corn, and he informed me that he had plenty of money to pay any price I might ask. I told him if he was so well prepared with means he could buy corn most anywhere, and that I would keep mine for those more needy." The stranger went away without purchasing. Mr. McGraw and his neighbor each shelled a sack of corn, posted off to the nearest mill, and came home, making their families happy with plenty to eat. By way of supplement, Judge McGraw informed us that in the spring they paid the debt; and that he never mauled rails with more pleasure, or gave bigger count than he did in payment for that sack of corn.

In the fall prior to the winter of the deep snow, Governor Reynolds was running for the Chief Magistracy of the State, and according to the customs of those times, visited nearly every town and hamlet in the State. Among his appointments was one at Murphy's mill, then just built—on Kickapoo creek, in what is now Waynesville township. At that time the political parties were Whigs and Democrats. There were a large number in attendance, voters for miles around—being in all about twenty-five voters. It was a motley crew, half of them, at least, were barefoot, while the best dressed were in their shirt sleeves, and wore buckskin for pants. The Governor made a stirring speech under an oak-tree. Someone passed around a copious bottle of whisky, and of course when election came, all voted for Gov. Reynolds, both Whigs and Democrats.

This chapter would not be complete without relating the following circumstance, which occurred the 4th of July, in the same year as the above. Both of the parties were pioneers, and are yet living, one residing in Clinton, and the other in Texas township. Mr. Thomas Davenport, then a young man, was passing through Waynesville with his family, to visit friends in another part of the county. He made a halt in the prairie, near Judge McGraw's premises. While here the question came up with regard to physical powers, etc., and a banter was made by some one present that Mr. McGraw could beat Davenport in a foot-race. Both parties prided themselves in their capacity as foot-racers. The champions eagerly sought the opportunity to prove their valor. A partially plowed prairie was selected as a scene of contest. A land that had not been completed, about six or eight feet wide, was the chosen spot. The furrows were straight, and it was arranged that each should take a furrow and start at the word, "Go!" The distance was a hundred yards. The race was run, and it was conceded that the Judge came out a little ahead. Our informant says that Davenport walked around his competitor, after the race was over, looked him up and down in astonishment, and finally exclaimed, "that he did not think that that man had been created who could beat him on foot." Last year—1880—fifty years afterward, Judge McGraw jokingly bantered Mr. Davenport, on the fair ground at Clinton, to have their youthful foot-race over again. Of course the race was not run.

The following are the first land entries made in the township: November 3d 1827, Samuel P. Glenn entered the E. of the S. W. in section 26. On the same date, James K. Scott entered the E. of the N. E. of section 27. These were the first land entries made in DeWitt county. Levi Johnson entered the E. of the S. E. of section 15, the 18th of March, 1828. Prettyman Marvel entered the E. of the N. E. of section 31, March 28th 1828. On the same day, Samuel Curtright entered the W. of the N. W. of section 32. April 7th 1828, Daniel Vinson entered the E. of the N. W. of section 28. Abraham Onstott, on the 2d of December, 1828, entered the W. of the N. W. of same section. Heirs of George Kline at the same date, entered the E. of the S. W. of section 22. January 14th 1829, Edward W. Fears entered the W. of the N. W. of section 27. Thomas M. Glenn entered the E. of the N. W. of section 35. June 6th 1829, Henry Atherton entered the W. of the N. E. of section 28. Jonathan Atherton entered the W. of the S. W. of section 26, June 26th 1829. John Robb entered the E. of the S. E. of section 27, October 13th 1829. October 16th, 1829, Isaac Carlock entered the W. of the S. W. of section 22. Wm. Branson entered the E. of the S. W. of section 27. Mark McPhearson entered the E. of the N. W. of section 32, May 28th 1830. November 19th, same year, John Strange entered the W. of the S. E. of section 27. Nicholas and Enoch Lundy entered the W. of the N. E. of same section, November 27th 1830. Same date, Jesse Sutton entered the E. of the N. W. of section 29. December 8th 1830, John B. Jones entered the E. of the N. W. of section 21. In the same year, December 18th, Thomas Cuppy entered the E. of the S. W. of the same section. Hiram Crum at the same date, entered the W. of the S. E. of section 28.

The first interment made was on the farm of Samuel P. Glenn in section 26, in 1829, and the first person buried was Samuel Scott, a brother of James K. Scott. The grave was situated on a little rise of ground just west of where the Christian church now stands. The cemetery at this writing contains one acre of ground, and was donated by Mr. Glenn to the county for a public place of burial. Many of the deceased of Waynesville and the vicinity are buried here.

The first couple married were James Johnson and Mahala Nichols. The marriage rites were solemnized by Samuel P. Glenn, then justice of the peace. This occurred in the summer of 1829. The first child born was a daughter of Prettyman and Rebecca Marvel, which occurred the 4th of November, 1827. She was born at their log cabin, situated in section 21. The second born was Nancy, a daughter of Thomas M. Glenn, in the spring of 1828. The first school taught was a private session, and conducted by J. J. McGraw in the winter of 1832. To this day the old settlers claim it was one of the best schools they ever had. The house was a log cabin, situated in section 28, on the land formerly owned by A. P. Cushman.

Among the pioneer preachers were Peter Cartwright, James K. Scott, William See, Hugh and Walter Bowles, James Hughes, R. D. Taylor, and Abner Peeler. Peter Cartwright was then the presiding elder of the M. E. Church. It must be remembered that at this time there were no church houses, and the services were held at the cabins of the pioneers. Prettyman Marvel's house was one of the favorable resorts for church services. At this time—1825—, an informant tells us that there were but six who would congregate to hear the word expounded; and the enjoyment of these few who gathered together on the dirt floor of their cabins, was only equaled by the simplicity and earnestness of the worshippers. The first church house was constructed in 1837, and located in section 26, in sight of Samuel P. Glenn's residence. It was a frame structure, and the first frame building in the township. It was moved to the village of Waynesville three years ago, and is now utilized for a blacksmith shop and carriage factory by Evans Bros., a relic of the olden time.

John Glenn was the first justice of the peace. Thomas M. Glenn, and Samuel P. Glenn were also among the first. The first blacksmith was Robert Eckler, a native of New York. His shop was a little pole cabin, situated in the north part of the town of Waynesville. This was in 1833. Mr. Eckler moved away in an early day to parts unknown. The first mill was built by Zion and Edom Shugart in 1829, and was situated on Kickapoo creek in the northern part of the township on the land now owned by Mrs. Tenney. It was a water grist-mill, and had a capacity of grinding from 15 to 20 bushels of meal daily. The burrs were about two feet in diameter, and hewn out from prairie boulders. The first saw mill was built by Russell Post in 1837, and situated on the Kickapoo in section 23. It had an upright saw, and was run by an undershot wheel. Nothing but a portion of the old dam now remains, to point out to the passer-by that here was once a mill.

Charles Maltby was the first postmaster, and the office was situated on Maltby street a little north of J. P. Dunham's store. It was established in 1834.

The township in 1860 contained 872 inhabitants; in 1870, 970 inhabitants; and the last census, 1880, there were 1,042. Among the most prominent stock raisers at this time are: Taylor Bros. They make a specialty of propagating the finest quality of sheep and swine. The prizes taken at the fairs for their stock in 1879 were upwards of $2,000.

The following is a list of the Supervisors elected since Township organization: Thomas C. Robb was elected in 1859, and served two terms. Boynton Tenney, elected in 1861, and served two terms; was chosen Chairman of the Board for the year 1862. Thomas C. Robb, re-elected in 1863, and served one term. J. M. Simpson, elected in 1864; I. C. Cantrall, elected in 1865, and served two terms. E. Davenport was elected in 1867. Boynton Tenney, re-elected in 1868, and served as Chairman of the Board for that year. Calvin Timmons, elected in 1869, and served until 1872. W. H. Oglevie, elected in 1872. James P. Strange was elected in 1873. Amos Dick, elected in 1874, and served three terms. Mathew Hammett, elected in 1877, and served three terms. E. D. Sessions was elected in 1880. Charles Jones was elected in 1881, and is the present incumbent.


This is the oldest town in DeWitt county, and is situated in section 29, just in the southern edge of the Kickapoo timber. It was named by George Isham in honor of Gen. Anthony Wayne, of whose exploits and generalship Isham was a great admirer. The township afterwards received its name from the village. The first town-plat was filed by Isham the 4th of June, 1832, and described as follows: A part of the E. S. W. section 29, and contained six blocks. This territory was then a part of McLean county: Subsequent additions were made as follows: Post and Isham, addition made January 12th 1836. Russell Post, addition made October 10th of the same year. The first attempt for incorporation was made June 26th, 1844. A meeting was called and a vote taken, with the following result. For incorporating: A. Hamilton, David Wheeler, Charles Maltby, Bussell Post, E. J. Lawrence, Harrison Maltby, J. L. Ginnings, William Evans, John F. Buckner, Samuel Richards, R. E. Post, John Zoller, D. J. Grosh, Thomas Congher, Jessie Griffin, Victor N. Sampson, Jacob F. Sampson, James H. Morley, F. S. Harrison, J. M. Laton, G. W. Stipp, John W. Anderson, and A. N. Dills. Against incorporating: Nathaniel Harris, and James McNealy.

For some cause no organization was effected, and it was not until in the fall of 1868 that the town was incorporated, and then under a general act of the Legislature for the incorporating of villages. The first elected officers were: F. Brock, President of the Board; J. W. Dix, J. Wilson, J. J. Starkey, Charles Williams, and James M. Evans. John Dickey was chosen clerk. The present officers of the village are: W. C. Whiteman, President of the Board; William H. Cantrall, Charles Tenney, Henry Armstrong, William P. Gambrel, and James M. Evans; Clerk: Dr. S. A. Graham; Treasurer, C. W. Williamson; Police Magistrate, John McLeod; Town Constable, E. Gambrel.

The first goods sold in the town (being the first in the county) were by Greenman & Dunham in 1830, two years before the town was laid out. They had a small stock of notions and groceries, and their customers came for many miles around. At this time there was but one store in Bloomington, which was kept by James Allin, founder of both the towns of Bloomington and Clinton. The store-room of the firm of Greenman & Dunham was a small hewed log cabin, situated in the eastern limits of the present corporation of Waynesville. It was afterwards taken down and moved to another spot in the same part of the town. It is now weather-boarded, and is used as a part of James M. Evans' dwelling.

The first house built in the town proper, after it was platted, was erected by George Isham in 1832. It was a hewed log building, 16x18 feet in size, and situated on Maltby street, opposite what is now Odd Fellow's Hall. I. N. Chrisman put in a small stock of goods, which business he conducted for some time. The building was afterwards moved back from the street and used as a stable by Linus Graves. Some of the old logs may yet be seen in the north-west part of the town where they are utilized for a sidewalk.

The first frame building was erected by Benjamin Day for a dwelling in 1832, and located on Maltby Street in the lot now occupied by R. H. Dragstern's store-room. The building was torn down many years ago. The first school-house was built by George Isham in 1836, and situated in the first addition to Waynesville, on Maltby street, in the lot now occupied by Addison Harrison. It was a little log building, and the first school taught in it was by Linus Graves.

The first and only grist-mill constructed in the town was under the auspices of James Metland in 1850, and was situated in the northern limits of the village, a little east of Eber Davenport's tile factory. George Isham donated seven acres of ground in order to establish it. The building was a frame, two stories, and cost about $3,000. It had two run of stones, and other belongings to make a very good mill. Several years ago it was taken down and moved to McLean county. Livingston & Davis constructed the first saw-mill in 1853. It was situated a little west and north of the Illinois Midland depot. It was run by steam-power, and had an upright saw. The relic of the old frame may yet be seen, but the machinery was taken out several years ago and utilized for other purposes. It may be interesting for the present generation and late settlers to know that the town could once boast of a tan-yard. It was constructed in 1833 by Homer Buck, and situated on First street, in the lot now owned by the Ginnings family. It passed from existence many years ago. The village has two cemeteries, one situated in the east part of the town and the other in the west. The ground of the former was donated to the inhabitants of the town by George Isham in 1852. The latter was donated by Prettyman Marvel, and antedates the former.

The present school building is situated on the public square, and was erected in the fall of 1866, at a cost of $4,000. It is a square building, 36x36, and two stories in height. There are two rooms, furnished with the latest improved furniture, etc. A cupola adorns the building, from which is suspended a school bell. Two teachers are employed, and it is thus partially graded. Nine months is the usual term taught in the year, and it has an attendance of about 75 pupils. The town also contains two good church buildings, Cumberland Presbyterian and Methodist. The former is a large frame building with spire and bell. This was the first church house built in the village, and was constructed in 1839. The latter is a substantial brick house, also ornamented with a spire and bell. For a more complete account of the churches, see special chapter on Ecclesiastical history.

At this writing the town of Waynesville contains about 360 inhabitants. Two fine brick business houses are already in process of erection; and there appears in all parts of the town a good show of energy and push for a small country town. The people have met with several reverses to retard the progress of their town, among which, probably the most prominent, was the cholera epidemic in the latter part of the summer of 1855. The following are the names of the deaths in the village of that year: Dugald Walker and wife; Young Fouts, wife and child; Mrs. Hogland; Mrs. Isaac Bowman and child; Mrs. Grimes; Dr. F. S. Harrison; a child of J. P. Dunham, and a child of Mr. Shelly; —12 in all. In the neighborhood of the village, the following were the deaths: John Ackerson, wife, sister and four children; Alexander Gaston, and one other person, name not known. Great suffering and privations prevailed at this time for the lack of nurses, and medical attendance. The family of Ackerson were all buried in rude boxes and interred in the night, so afraid were the people of the infection spreading in their midst.


Brick and Tile Works of E. Davenport were established in 1852, and situated in block 43, Port's addition to Waynesville. The shed and inclosure is 130x144 feet, and the drive-ways occupy upwards of one acre of ground. The factory contains three kilns for burning tile, and has the capacity of manufacturing 200,000 feet of tile annually. The works also contain a brick kiln, capable of burning 300,000 per year, and in all give employment to six men. The value of the manufactured product is upwards of $3,000 annually. Mr. Davenport is the patentee of the "down and up draft" kilns which are proving such a success in the country.

Atchison Tile Works, David Atchison, proprietor: These works were established in the fall of 1877, and are situated in the north part of the town at the foot of Maltby street. The cost of this manufactory was $2,000. It has the capacity of manufacturing 350,000 feet of tile in the working season, and gives employment to four men. Manufactures tile from 2 inches in diameter to eight inches. The grounds occupy two and a half acres, and are conveniently arranged with drying sheds, and drive ways suitable to the business. The works contain a saw-mill attachment, and at certain seasons of the year it does quite a thriving business in the lumber trade. The whole business is driven by a twenty horse-power engine. Annual value of manufactured product, $7,000.

Elevator, A.—Gambrel & Cook, proprietors. This industry was established in the spring of 1877; and is situated at the foot of First Street, and on the switch of the Illinois Midland Railway. It was built by Cook & Son, and passed into the hands of the present proprietors in July 1881. It is a frame building, three stories high, and 36x48 feet on the ground, and built at a cost of $3000. It has two dumps, and drive-ways complete, and the capacity of elevating 5000 bushels of grain per day, and can store 12,000 bushels; besides having cribs attached, capable of holding 50,000 bushels of corn. This elevator is driven by horse power, and gives employment to five men and three teams.

Carriage and Wagon Manufactory.—This was established by Evans Bros. in the spring of 1875. The building is a frame, two stories, and 30x70 feet in size, and cost the proprietors $2000. It is located on the corner of First and Maltby Streets; employs eight men, and the annual value of the manufactured product is $4000. All the work is performed by hand.

Brick Yard, owned and operated by A. L. Yocom. This yard was established in the spring of 1879, and is located in the north part of the town, between Isham and Maltby Streets. It gives employment to four men, and manufactures 200,000 bricks annually. Mr. Yocom also owns a portable saw-mill, situated in the north part of the village, capable of sawing from four to five thousand feet of lumber daily. It is run by a traction-engine of 16-horse power, and gives employment to four men. The logs are hauled from the Kickapoo and Rock Creek timber.

General Merchandise.—J. P. Dunham & Co.; R. H. Dregstren; Fults & Dix.

Drugs, Medicines, etc.—Whiteman & Williamson.

Drugs and Groceries.—Wakefield & Dick.

Harness and Saddle Store.—W. H. Cantrall.

Lumber, Coal, Lime, Agricultural Implements, etc.—Gambrel & Cook.

Physicians.—J. J. Starkey; S. A. Graham; Philetus Wakefield.

Milliner.—Mrs. Helen A. Whiteman.

Blacksmiths.—C. W. Slinker; William Tracy.

Boot and Shoe Repairers.—James Dickey; John D. Slack.

Stock Dealers and Shippers.—Gambrel & Marvel.

Masons and Bricklayers.—John Wilson; Israel Frank.

Painter and Glazier.—Victor Sampson.

Butchers and Meat Market.—Clark & Clemmons.

Barber.—A. Harrison.

Hotel.—W. H. Robertson.

Postmaster.—W. H. Cantrall.


Wayne Lodge, No. 172, A. F. & A. M. was organized under dispensation in 1855, and the first meeting held, May 26th of the same year. The Lodge was organized under a charter the 3d of October following. The charter officers were: John R. Lisk, W. U.; Calvin Timmons, S. W.; Samuel Graham, J. W.; David Wheeler, Treasurer; E. Stuart, Secretary; John S. Cantrall, J. D.; and S. Lowe, Tyler. The Lodge then contained but seven charter members. The present officers are, John M. Burkholder, W. M.; J. J. Starkey, S. W.; John R. McLeod, J. W.; Wiley Marvel, Treas.; Wm. P. Gambrel, Sec.; John F. Dix, S. D.; Henry M. Leal, J. D.; John Booth, Tyler. The Lodge meets every Saturday night, on or before the full of the moon.

I. O. M. A., No. 110.—This Lodge was organized by M. L. Ross, of Quincy, Ill., February 28th, 1881. The following are the names of the officers: James Thompson, P.; H. T. Armstrong, V. P.; Charles E. Evans, R. C.; S. A. Graham, F. S.; D. H. Fults, Treas.; Doctors Wakefield and Graham, M. E. There were fifty-two charity members. The present officers are, W. P. Gambrel, P.; J. C. Evans, V. P.; H. T. Armstrong, R. S.; S. A. Graham, F. S.; D. H. Fults, Treas.; Doctors Wakefield and Graham, M. E. The present membership is the original number, fifty-two.

Prairie State Lodge, No. 104, I. O. O. F. was organized Feb. 13th, 1852, and was chartered October 15th, of the same year. The charter officers were as follows: John H. Peak, N. G.; John H. Lisk, V. G.; J. B. Hoover, Sec.; John Lewis, Treas.; E. Stafford, R. S.; K. T. Scher, L. S.; J. M. Sampson, O. G.; V. N. Sampson, C. These constituted the members of the Lodge when it was instituted. The present officers are: W. C. Whiteman, N. G.; J. W. Dix, V. G.; Thomas A. Banks, Sec.; F. M. Jeffrey, Treas.; John McLeod, R. S.; Thomas Dick, L. S.; James Cook, R. S., V. G.; John Evans, L. S., V. G.; E. K. Ginnings, O. S. G.; J. P. Strange, I. S. G.; P. Wakefield, C.; E. D. Sessions, W.; Alford Dick, R. S. S.; J. J. Buck, L. S. S. The present membership of the Lodge is fourteen. The Lodge is out of debt, and has money in the treasury.

*For the data of the various Lodges we are indebted to the Secretaries of the same.

Return to Contents