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Township Histories in Morgan County IL

from the

by Andreas, Lyter & Co., Davenport, Iowa, 1872
Meredosia Concord-Meredosia Concord Litterberry-Arcadia Yatesville-Sinclair Prentice Chapin-Bethel Jacksonville-Markham Jacksonville Orleans-Arnold Alexander Woodson Franklin-Pisqah Franklin-East Murryville-West Murryville Nortonville
Clickable Township Map

Transcribed originally by Florence Hutchison with the her comments added.
Refer to the NUMBER preceding the Township Names below, to find the location of the township, on the county township map above or click on the township map.

#19 - MEREDOSIA TOWNSHIP - 16 North Range 13 West, 3rd Principal Meridian

The first settlement was made by Peter Stewart who built the first log house on Section 2. Among other early settlers were Johnathan Cobb, Philip Aylesworth, Isaiah Stile, Washington Weeks, James E. Waldo, Thomas Pickett, and Jacob Newman.

The first school was taught by Thomas Pickett, a brother-in-law of Ex-Gov. Cook of Kentucky. Rev. Mr. Birch preached the first sermon in the cabin of Jonathan Cobb. The first stores were Isaiah Stiles and James E. Waldo's. The first hotel was kept by Isaac Finch.

The first physician was I. J. C. Smith, M. D. The first Justice of the Peace was Daniel Waldo, the first Constable Joseph Dew.

Meredosia village is a thriving commercial place, with an intelligent class of businessmen.

#18 -CONCORD-MEREDOSIA TOWNSHIP - 16 North Range 12 West, 3rd PM

"We have been unable to get exact data of the first settlement, but some claims were granted and settled upon as early as 1818...."By looking at our INDEX to PUBLIC DOMAIN LAND TRACT SALES TO PATENTEE, I (F. H.) find William Pointer bought land in T16-12 in 1835.

In the spring of 1836, William Post settled on Section 15, where he still resides. This township has many advantages, being well watered, a good proportion of timber, and easy access to the towns of Meredosia on the Illinois River, and the towns of Arenzville, Concord, and Chapin on the R. R. I. & St. L. R. R.

The soil is very rich and productive, and it is settled by a very superior class of citizens.

#17 - CONCORD TOWNSHIP - 16 North Range 11 West, 3rd PM

This township was first settled by Benjamin Couchman, the Carters, Rev. James Sims, Steven Henderson, David Henderson, and Bennett Smart. The first permanent settlement was made by Steven Henderson on the thirtieth day of September 1825. A short time before Mr. H's arrival, John Carter built a log cabin on Section 14, but he remained in the township only a short time.

The First Justice of Peace was David Smith, about the year 1828. Rev. Peter Cartwright was the first preacher. A small cabin was erected by Mr. Henderson on Section 12, and the energetic itinerant occasionally occupied the same. Rev. James Sims was the first local preacher, and he had charge of a small flock that were scattered over an extensive section of country.

The first school house built of logs was located on Section 12. The people called it "Carmel", and received pupils for many miles. The first teacher was Johnathan Atherton, in 1829. There is considerable good prairie, interspersed with timber in this township. The surface is rolling, and is well watered.

#16 - LITERBERRY-ARCADIA TOWNSHIP - 16 North Range 10 West 3rd PM

Charles Baggs was the first settler, in 1824. About 1826, David G. Henderson, Andrew V. Patten, Allen Q. Lindsay, Jeremiah Henderson located in the county.

The first marriage was William Clark to Mrs. Eliza Metcalf, formerly Miss Bristow, and daughter of wellknown Squire Bristow. The ceremony was performed by Squire D. G. Henderson, on August 4, 1836, being on Sunday, and before breakfast.

The first birth was a son of Squire Bristow. The first death was Johann Bristow, in 1827. The first preaching was by the Methodists, Rev. James Sims, pastor in 1829. They built a church a short time afterward. The second sermon was preached by Samuel Bristow, Baptist, the following year.

The first school house was erected on Section 9, on A. V. Patten's. The first school trustees were Charles Baggs, Eli W. Redding, and William Harristo. The first teacher was William Manleve; second, Alfred Elder.

The first Justice of Peace was Thomas Bristow, about 1828. D. G. Henderson was the first Constable, and traveled over Scott, Cass and Morgan Counties at that time all together as Morgan. (Cass became a county 1837, Scott in 1839). D. G. Henderson was first Township Treasurer, and held the position over 28 years. Squire Henderson was the second Justice of the Peace, and retained the office for 16 years.

The surface of the township is covered principally with timber. The prairies are fertile and are well watered by numerous creeks.

#15 - YATESVILLE-SINCLAIR TOWNSHIP = 16 North Range 9 West, 3rd PM

The first permanent settlement was made in the fall of 1824. Among the first settlers were William and Andrew Armstrong, William Miller, William Crow , Henry Keltner, Wright Flynn, Robert Fitzhugh and Dennis Coker. Messrs. Armstrong and Coker are yet living, though long passed their three score years and ten ((1872).

Henry Keltner build the first log cabin in 1824. A short time after, Andrew Armstrong built another cabin. The first birth was Joshua Armstrong, son of William Armstrong in August, 1825.

The regular Baptists erected the first church in 1827. Rev. William Crow was the first minister. Previous to this he had preached several years in this locality. The first Justice of Peace was William Sage, in the year 1828. He held the position until his death.

Dr. Gillette was the first physician in 1827. The first schoolhouse was built on Section2, near the Baptist church. The first teacher was Benjamin workman, an old settler and a man well versed in educational affairs.

William Miller was the first Road Supervisor, and held the position for several years. At the time of settlement, the land not being in the market, possession could be obtained until several years after the arrival of the first pioneers.

#14 - PRENTICE TOWNSHIP -West Half of Township 16 North Range 8 West 3PM

Township 15, Range 8 and Township 16, Range 8 are half townships of most beautiful fertile prairie lands, shared between Morgan and Sangamon counties, owned in large bodies by wealthy sock farmers, who are mostly resident of the adjoining townships.

In these fractional townships, more than any others, is where the great "Cattle Kings" of the United States herd immense droves, and prepared hem for the markets. They are one immense pasture, owned mostly by the Alexander's, Strawn's, Browns, etc., whose names are known all over the country, in connection with the cattle trade. Prentice is the major village. Then we travel back west to start again with the Chapin-Bethel Township in 15-12.

#13 - CHAPIN-BETHEL TOWNSHIP - North fractional part of T15N, R12W

This fractional township contains only 12 sections numbered 1 to 12. In this little belt of land is located Chapin, Bethel, Morgan City and Neelyville. Through it runs the Rockford, Rock Island & St. Louis, and the Toledo, Wabash and Western Railroads. It is beautiful rich prairie land, and contains many very fine farms, besides its thriving towns and villages.

#12 - JACKSONVILLE-MARKHAM TOWNSHIP - 15 North, Range 11 West, 3PM

The first settlement was made in this township by Robert James Deaton and others in 1820. (It was still part of Madison County at that time)

In 1822 Adam Allinson joined the number, who, with James Deaton, is still living near where they settled more than fifty years ago. (Greene County and Territory of Jersey, Macoupin, Morgan, Cass and Scott was organized in 1821).

Among other early settlers were Abraham Johnson, Jonathan Cobbs, Hon. Aaron Wilson (who became the first Judge in Morgan County), Isaac Smith, Stephen Olmstead, Jedediah Webster, Seymour and Elisha Kellogg, Andrew Patten, Robert Beard, Isaac and Martin Dial and Moses Carlock.

Rev. Mr. Granville preached the first sermon in the cabin of James Deaton in the spring of 1822. The first death was that of the wife of D.Lanman. The first Justice of Peace was Joseph H. Bates.

The surface of this township is greatly undulating, with a very rich soil, having very few equals as a township in the State. It contains many first class farms of citizens, a respectable portion of whom are of English descent.

The southeast part of this township was the farm and residence of the noted stock dealer, Jacob Strawn.

(Please note here: This page 112, lists Isaac Reeves" who was the first blacksmith in the county." Isaac Reeves' land was in Township 15 North, Range 10 West, as will be recorded in the next item).

#11 - JACKSONVILLE TOWNSHIP, 15 North, Range 10 West, 3rd PM

The first settlement in this township was in 1820 by Isaac Fort Roe. He and two companions arrived din a beautiful forest on a very cold winter day January 23, 1820. He selected a place of residence, and in February built a log cabin thus becoming one of the first three settlers in the county. When he sun shone brilliantly on the ice-covered trees, he name it Diamond Grove. This was the first village in what we now know as Morgan County, but in 1820 was Madison county, and in 1821-1823 was Greene County. Roe died October 12, 1821 and was probably buried in the early Massey cemetery. His body was exhumed and later reburied in what is now Diamond Grove Cemetery dedicated September 1869. This date from "History of Morgan County, Illinois" by Donnelley, Loyd & Co. publishers, 1878. Republished, with extensive indexing, by Unigraphic Inc. of Evansville Indiana 1978.

From the "1872 Atlas of Morgan County, Illinois" we continue the history at the bottom of page 76 as given.

The first settlement in this township was in 1820 (Madison County). John Bradshaw, accompanied by Col. Joseph Morton, built a log cabin east of the present city of Jacksonville, in the fall of that year. John Wyatt, William York, William Wyatt, President (?) Homes, Thomas Wiswall, William C. Versy, Christopher B. Stebbins, Mr. Myers (who was the first postmaster in the county), Carson and Judge Wilson, were among the first settlers.

The village of Jacksonville founded in 1825 soon contained less than one dozen families and a few transient parties. Capt. Teft kept a hotel, eventually, the first in the county. The first birth was that of Minerva Morton in 1823.

The first school taught in the county was at Jacksonville, by William Thomas in 1826. The surface of this township, which is gently rolling, was originally about equally divided between timber and prairie. It has rich soil, and contains outside the limits of the city of Jacksonville, some very valuable farms. About one-tenth of this township is included in the limits of the city of Jacksonville (by 1872). I want to make a correction here to clear the statement in the Jacksonville-Markham Township, 15 North, Range 11 West 3PM. That read "Isaac Reeves' land was in that township "where his log cabin and blacksmith shop were located...." Isaac Reeves land was in Township 15 N Range 10W where the village of Diamond Grove was first located by Isaac Fort Roe, and where Reeves log cabin and blacksmith shop were built for the business that was coming along the Vandalia Trail that evidently was just a bit to the south of Diamond Grove, and on the Great West. Many researchers have believed that Jacksonville was the first village, it was not -- Diamond Grove is on an early plat map I found, whereas there was not other town named in the whole township.

#10 - ORLEANS-PISGAH TOWNSHIP 15 North, Range 9 West, 3PM

This township contains some of the finest land in the county, and is well known not only on account of its excellent soil, but also its extensive farms. The Mauvaisterre, with its several branches, afford a never failing supply of water, and make this portion of the county unrivaled for stock-keepers.

Among the first settlers were Col. Matthews and J. T. Holmes, who arrived in the fall of 1821. (Then Greene County and its Territory). On the fourth of November 1821, Col. Matthews located on his farm, being the first permanent settler of the township. During the next year he taught school in a little log cabin on Section 3, just above his present residence.

The first birth was Melinda Jane Matthews, daughter of Col. Matthews, in 1822. The first Justice of the Peace was Joseph Slater. At this time Morgan was attached to Greene county for judicial and other purposes. Even in 1825, the Cumberland Presbyterians, taking a deep interest in religious matters, organized a society and erected a church. Before this, in 1823, Rev. John Berry was their pastor, and retained the position for several years. Rev. Peter Cartwright was accustomed to preach in this section in those early days, and many interesting anecdotes are related of this energetic preacher.

Col. Matthews erected a saw mill in 1834. This was among the first saw mills in the county, and was a desideratum in those early days.

#9 - ALEXANDER TOWNSHIP - 15 North, Range 8 West 3rd PM

This is half township, western side of the other half in Sangamon County, the one village being Alexander. The E.S.H.T. W. & W. Railroad traverses it from east to west. In this fractional township is where the great "Cattle Kings" of American herd their immense droves and prepare them for the market. They are basically one immense pasture, owned mostly by the Alexander's, Strawn's, Browns, etc., whose names are knows all over the county is connect with the cattle trade.

Other land owners as listed on the 1872 sectional map are Richard Ruble, James D. Smith, Est., John Robertson, Samuel Dewees, Ellis Wilcox, Susan L. Brown, Harry C. Wiswall, Hooker and Ferrell and a lot of other Browns. Our cemetery specialist in Morgan County have never found a cemetery lot in this area, probably the only township in this category.

#8 - LYNNVILLE TOWNSHIP - 14 North, Range 11 West 3rd PM

This township was first settled by Doctor Caldwell in the spring of 1820, where he made an improvement about one mile south of what is now known as "Allison's Mound". (He settled here while it was still in Madison County, and then as a territory of Greene as of 1821-23). The first court was held at the house of Dr. Caldwell.

Other early settlers were A. M. Liebe, William Gordon, William Coulter, after which settlers flocked in quite rapidly. First marriage was that of Charles Harrell to Miss L. Caldwell, and Elizabeth York was the first child born. The first death was the wife of Charles Harrell.

The first church was built in the village of Linville in 1839; anterior to that time, preaching was held at private houses and school houses. Peter Cartwright was the first regular preacher.

The first school house was built in 1830, taught by William Brisbine at his own home. In 1830 Adam Allison built the first mill for grinding grain, which was a tread mill type. The first saw mill as built in 1859 by William Anderson and Henry Shirtcliff. Edward Shirtcliff sold the first goods in the town of Linville which by now was a promising little village. This township was shared with Scott County when it was formed February 16, 1839. Morgan County lost sections 17, 18, 19, 20, 27 through 34 in order to even out the population schedules.

#7 - WOODSON TOWNSHIP - 14 North Range 10 West 3rd PM

The first settlers were the Holmes (1826), Shepard's (1827), McAllister's and Stevenson's about the fall of 1828. The first birth was a son of Mr. Shepard in the spring of 1828.

The early location was along the creeks and by the timber, and on this account for many years the prairie remained unclaimed. About a year after the deep snow of 1830, the tide of emigration flowed in, and in a few years most of the rich prairies were occupied by new comers. In the early history of this township, must be noted that Rev. Peter Cartwright was accustomed to preach either from the stump of some aged oak, or in the cabin of some of the pioneer Methodists. Rev. James Rives also preached occasionally in the log school house. This township is well watered and the prairies interspersed with groves of timber, making this portion of the county unsurpassed of general agricultural purposes.

#6 - FRANKLIN-PISGAH TOWNSHIP - 14 North Range 9 West 3rd PM

Among the first settlers in 1820 were Joseph Buchanan and his son Benjamin, then 19 years of age, who with Ansel Cox and Michael Antle pitched their tents on Section 3. (Then Madison County in 1820)

The next year (1821 which would then be in Greene Count) Lott Luttrell, Johnson, Shelton and Francis Petree followed, and soon Joseph Fanning. After them came William, Robert, James and Russel Tabor, John Sappington, Rice Duncan, Richard Wood and Andrew and David Samples.

The first sermon was preached by Rev. Simeon Buchanaan, a Baptist clergyman at a comp on Section 3 in the fall of 1821, which we judge was the first in the county. The first death was that of Mary, wife of Ansel Cox, June 17, 1823.

The first marriage was John Wiswall to Miss Eda Tabor in 1825. Rice Duncan taught the first school in 1825. Theophilus Ballard was the first Justice of the Peace, and Joseph Fanning the first Constable, both elected in the spring of 1827. The surface, except in the northern part, is moderately level, with a rich soil well adapted to farming. It was originally about four-fifths prairie, and contains some of the best farms in the county.

#5 - FRANKLIN-EAST TOWNSHIP - 14 North Range 8 West 3rd PM

John Gilliland built the first house on Section 29 about the year 1824. Among the early settlers were E. Nix, Neal Elliott, John Arnold, Isham Burnett, Napoleon Bonapart VanWinkle, Berry Vincent, Edmond Haggard, Rice and Levi Johnson.

The first death in this township was that of the wife of Berry Vincent, about 1831. The first marriage was that of Isaac McLean to Miss Hannah Haggard, in the fall of 1833. The first school was taught by Manning Mayfield in 1833.

The surface is moderately rolling, with rich soil, well adapted to grain growing and stock raising. This township was about three-fourths prairie, and the balance brush and timber. Nearly one-fourth of this township on the East and Northeast is shared and incorporated with Sangamoon County.

And therein, because of this unusual division of sections as one can see from a plat map, lies a very interesting bit of history as to the reason for this, which be given later in this report.

#4 - MURRAYVILLE-WEST TOWNSHIP - 13 North 11 West 3rd PM

There were not statements made with this partial township showing an extension of Coal Creek, and the C.A. and St. Louis Railroad which passed through Murrayville angling southwesterly and crossing this township as it wends its way into the adjoining township of Scott County.

#3 - MURRAYVILLE TOWNSHIP - 13 North Range 10 West 3rd PM

Among the first pioneers, in 1823, were the Ray's. The Storey's, Wright's and John Anderson came some years later. The first birth was James Whitlock, son of Luther and Margaret Whitlock.

Rev. Thomson Sheppard, a Calvinist Baptist minister, preached the first sermon in 1832. The first church was a log building, and was erected in 1829 by the Calvinists and Baptists on Young Blood's Prairie.

The first school house was constructed of logs, and was located on the Nichols farm, about a mile north of Egypt Prairie. The first Justice of Peace was Samuel Ray in 1838. The first brick building was erected by the latter on Section 10, in 1836.

Prior to the deep snow of 1830 the country was sparsely populated, but after that remarkable epoch the fame of the timber and prairie became known, and settlers became very numerous.

This portion of the county is well watered and offers much excellent timber of many varieties. There are three major creeks - Litte Apple Creek on the east, then Lick Creek in the middle area, and Coal Creek to the west, all flowing south to southwesterly.

#2 - NORTONVILLE TOWNSHIP - 13 North Range 9 West 3rd PM
William Tabor built the first house in this township about the year 1828. The first sermon was preached by Rev. Newton Cloud a M. E. clergyman at the house of John Wyatt, in the spring of 1828.

Among the early settlers were James B. Sturgis, Solomon Hart, Thomas Anterbus, David, Nathan and Anderson Hart, and William Bryan. The first government land entered in this township was about the year 1828.

The first school was taught by John Shepherd in the winter of 1827 and 1828. The first marriage was that of Andrew Wyatt to Miss Sallie Davis, in 1828.

This township contains much good land some fine farms. It was originally about three-fifths prairie, the balance brush and timber. The surface is somewhat broken on the branches of Apple Creek, but it is all susceptible of cultivation, being adapted to the growth of fruit, grass, clover and the cereals.

#1 - WAVERLY TOWNSHIP - 13 North, Range 8 West 3rd PM

The first house was built by Milton Shirtleff on Section 11, about 1822. Among other early settlers was John Hunt, James London, Michael Miller, Jacob Black, Rev. Isaac Conlee, Joseph Thomas, Nicholas Russel, Fleming C. Maupin, John Turner, Joseph Wise and Joseph Caruthers.

The first marriage was that of Mr. Christopher Ashbaugh to Miss Elizabeth Thomas. The first sermon was preached by Rev. William Rogers, a Baptist clergyman, at the house of Rev. Isaac Conlee.

The first school was taught by John Scott. The first death was that of Henry son of John Hunt, in 1827. The first Justice of Peace was Thomas P. Ross, the Constable was Jacob Talkington.

This township was originally about equally prairie and timber, moderately undulating and have a rich, productive soil.

As a family researcher looks at a map of this township they probably wonder why the angular county line separating Morgan and Sangamon veers off slightly to the right, and in the midst section 24 veers sharply and upward to the northwest.

Evidently, when the early surveyors came to this site, they found a rising of the land running south to north, with the heads of the streams flowing to the East in Sangamon, and southwesterly in Morgan. They tried to keep the heads of the streams in the right county! They almost did. There's a slight overlap.

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