History of Bureau County, Illinois

The history of Bureau County, Illinois, after much toil and patient research, is now completed, and it is believed that no object of public importance or interest has been omitted, save where the most diligent efforts failed to secure reliable results.

The chief aim of this book is to give the facts and dates as we found them in the recollections of the few surviving early settlers, the private and public records in the County and State archives, the few private diaries, family Bibles and on the tombstones placed by the hands of affection over the final resting-places of the departed, in their chronological order. The legends and traditions have been carefully gone over, and no small part of the work has been in collating and verifying them, and in every case where fiction had found its way into the web or woof of the story, to retain the true and reject the false.

In some respects the reader may think, especially if he should be a stranger to the pioneers and their descendants, that at times there is a tediousness of detail, or even that some are unimportant, but a generation from now these very details will be the more highly prized the more full and complete they are.

In telling the story of the general county history we have combined and woven together the account as best we could, and in addition to the county's genealogy and chronology will be found that of the people, together with the biographies and lives of the living and the dead, that will some day be an invaluable prize in the hands of the future historian, as well as of interest and profit to the readers of to-day.

We believe the whole will be found clothed in a literary garb, and brightened with reflections, suggestions and philosophical deductions that will make it a store-house for the young and old, where they may find new and valuable ideas, and thus gain knowledge and pleasure that will repay them many times the original outlay for the book.

This work has cost us much labor and a large expenditure of money, and as the territory is but a single county, and, therefore, our patronage can be but limited, yet we have given here more than we promised, and we feel assured that all thoughtful and fair-minded people will recognize and appreciate the work and its permanent value.

There is a perceptibly constant increase in the interest in the history of the pioneers. This, of course, commenced in the original States of the Union, but is extending all over the West. In the New England States it is still far in advance of the Mississippi Valley. It may be true that these are richer historical grounds than the newer States can present, but it is not certain that, therefore, there are not great fields here for the real historian. because there is much in the man who writes the history of a people as to whether he finds and suitably points out, and fully works up the actual material that may he within his possible reach.

In this work we have followed no beaten track in formulating the story, the subjects treated, or the manner of treatment, and some readers may conclude that to that extent we have marred what we have done, yet we have followed a general plan, and made prominent those special subjects that we have, after long study and reflection, conceived to be for the best in the end, even if not now.

And all we care to say in self defense is, that where the reader may fall upon chance paragraphs that do not meet his cordial approval, that in justice to the writer he withhold his judgements until he can fairly view and estimate the work as a whole — the story in all its lights and shadows.


Table of Contents.

CHAPTER I. — Introduction to the Subject Generally — The State's Present Growth — The Anglo-Americana — Cavaliers and Puritans — People Suffer Only for their Ignorance — Lawmakers Generally Considered — Meddlers in Social Organizations — Climate, Soil, Race, Epoch, and the Pent of the Public Mind the Great Workers of Events — History Considers Men's Errors Mostly Because These Predominate — The Measure of People's Morality is the Knowledge They Possess — The Present is Completing the Past and the Past Explaining the Present, etc., etc... 13

CHAPTER II. — Why History Interests Us — What is History? — Laws of Development - The Soil and its Wonders — Importance of Teaching it to All — Needs of Our People — The Coming Public Schools — Learned Ignorance Should Stop Now — Early Illiteracy and Modern Demoralization Compared — Who Are the Real Immortals — True Philosophy and Kindly Thought — Teaching Error a Crime — How to Educate — An Agricultural People Should Have an Agricultural Education — Instances Given — Education the Most Practical Thing in the World— Geological History, its Immensity and Importance — The Rocks, Soil, Age, Climate Great Factors in Making History — Geology of Bureau County — Coal Measures — The Wonderful Stories of the Prairies, etc... 21

CHAPTER III. - The Wonders of Prehistoric People — Remains of Great Cities — The Indians and yet Older People Who Were Here — Winnebago War, Capture and Death of Red Bird — Black Hawk War — First Bloodless Campaign in 1831 — Black Hawk Enters into a Treaty — Starved Rock, the First Settlement in Illinois — Joliet and Marquette — LaSalle's Colony and Fort St. Louis — Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Discovery and Possession of the Country — First White Settlement in the West Made in 1682, at Starved Rock — Capts. Willis Hawes, and Stewart's Companies and the Men from Bureau County, in the Black Hawk War, etc., etc... 43

CHAPTER IV. — The Genealogy of the County — New France — Canada — Louisiana — Northwestern Territory — St. Clair County — Madison, Clark, Bond, Crawford, Pike, Fulton. Peoria, Putnam and Finally Bureau County — The Several and Final Treaties — The Chain of Title to the Territory — Title to the Land, etc., etc... 58

CHAPTER V. — The Grand March of Empire — The Marvels in the Sweep of Population Across our Continent — The Work of One Hundred Years — The Legislative Act Creating Bureau County, etc., etc 65

CHAPTER VI. — The Order in which the People Came — First the Explorer, then the Trafficker, then the Trapper and Hunter, and then the Settler — Their Curious Habits and Customs — The Children of the Solitudes — What They Encountered — Hog and Hominy — The Shirttail Age — Houses and Furniture — Suffering for Bread - Anecdotes — Some of the Experiences of Pioneer Children — To Your Gums!!! — Experiences of a Boy at His First Hotel — He Hears a Gong — Supposes the House Busted — Board Two Dollars and a Half a Day, and He Eats Bread and Water— Witches, Wizards, and the Horrors of Superstition - How People Ported - Weddings, Dances, and the One-Eyed Fiddler — Bottle Race — How People Dressed — Salute Your Bride — Going to House- keeping, etc., etc... 69

CHAPTER VII. — The Name of Bureau County — How it Came — The First Five Families — Who They Were — Bulbona, John Dixon. Charles S. Boyd, Henry Thomas — Sketches and Anecdotes of Early Settlers — Death and Burial of John Dixon — Gurdon S. Hubbard — Who Was the First Postmaster — Oldest Living Settlers — Abram Stratton. — His Remarkable Trip in 1829 — Sketch of Him — The Brighams — The County's Total First Tax - Remarkable Career of John H. Boyd — The Three Brothers-in-Law — The First Death in the County, Daniel Smith — His Widow and Family, etc., etc., etc... 79

CHAPTER VIII. — Records Made by Old Settlers — On All Disputed Questions They are the Best Authority — Old Settlers Society — First Agitation of the Subject — Historical Importance of Speeches, Poems, Addresses, Remarks, Anecdotes and Pictures — Address of E. S. Phelps — First Old Settlers' Meeting — Who Participated — Their Records of Early Settlers, and When They Came — Poem by John H. Bryant — "Doctor Bill" — Officers of the Society — Killing of Phillips — Milo Kendall's Address - Warren's History of Putnam County — E. Strong Phelps — John M. Gay, Munson and Miss Hall — First Burial and First Birth - Caleb Cook — Aquilla Triplett — A Long List of the Early Settlers and Their Descendants — Arthur Bryant's Poem — Michael Kitterman, Sketch of — Thirteen Dogs and the Assessor — More Anecdotes — Rev. Martin and His Dog "Penny" — The Perkinses - George Hinsdale— C.G. Corss — And a Great Many Others, etc., etc... 87

CHAPTER IX. — Lone Tree — Putnam County Organized— Capt. Haws — John M. Gay Elected Commissioner — Dr. N. Chamberlain School Superintendent in 1831 — Bureau Precinct — Its First Nineteen Voters — Their Names and Whom They Voted For — A Democratic Majority at the First Election — Bureau Men on the Jury in 1831 — Daniel M. Gay and Daniel Dimmick Elected Justices — Gurdon S. Hubbard's Account of Burbonnais — Peoria and Galena Road — Dave Jones — First Steamboat on the Illinois River — First Grist and Saw Mill — "Dad Joe" Smith, a Sketch — Young Dad Joe's Ride — Alex Boyd's Ride — People Flee the Country — Shabbona, etc., etc... 110

CHAPTER X. — End of the Indian Troubles — Commencement of Permanent Settlements and Improvements — Election of 1834 — Bryant and Brigham Elected for Bureau Precinct — Estimated Number of People Here Then — Browne's Company of Rangers — Hampshire Colony — William O. Chamberlain Its Original Inventor — E.H. Phelp's Account of the Colony and Their Coming and the History Thereof — Names and an Account of the Colonists and Their Friends... 125

CHAPTER XI. — "Curt" Williams, the Man of Many Marks — Smiley Shepherd — The Deep Snow of 1831 — John, Job, Timothy, Brown and David Searle — Greenbury Hall - Lewis Cobb — The Cholera in 1832 — Scott's Army and Its Suffering From the Plague — First Steamboats Arrive in Chicago, 1832 — Politicians In the Black Hawk War - "I Surrender, Mr. Indian" — Sketches of Many Early Settlers - Henry F. Miller — M. Studyvin — David Chase — James Coddington — Enoch Lumry — James Garvin — E. Piper — James Wilson — Jacob Galer — John Leeper — John Baggs — Wiswalls — Tripletts — Halls — How Negro Creek Got its Name, etc., etc... 133

CHAPTER XII. — Immke's Group Picture of Early Settlers — Of Greater Value Now, Hut of Greater Value in the Future — Appeal to the County Authorities — The First Families, the Real Knickerbockers — A Chapter That Will Long Grow in Value, etc., etc... 144

CHAPTER XIII. — John H. Bryant — The Farmer Poet — A Sketch of His Life and Works — His Name Identified With Every Important Movement in the County Since He Came Here, etc., etc... 155

CHAPTER XIV. — Something About a Great Many People of the County — When Different Places Were Settled and by Whom — First Government Land Surveys — The Denhams — Moseleys — T.V. Thompson — Judge R.T. Templeton — Rev. E. Scudder High and Doughnuts — To Market to Sell a Pig — Walnut and Ohio Townships, etc., etc... 169

CHAPTER XV. — The Churches of the County — Their Present Pastors and Condition — The Growth of Church Institutions — In God We Trust — A Well Written Chapter by H.B. Leeper, of Princeton, etc., etc... 180

CHAPTER XVI. — The Anti-monopoly Movement, its Origin — John H. Bryant's Connection Therewith and Also Senator L. D. Whiting — Birth of the Republican Party — Judge Lawrence Defeated and Judge Craig Elected Supreme Judge — The Great Contest of the People Against Corporations and Monopolies — Effect Throughout the Whole Country — How Bureau Has Led in Many of These Great Movements — The Xlllth Article of Our Constitution, How it Came About — The Laws and the Courts' Decisions Founded Thereon — Illinois the Birthplace of Nearly Every Political Revolution — Some Corrections in Current History — Much Information and Many Important Facts That Will be New to Most Readers... 204

CHAPTER XVII. — The Hennepin Canal — History of the Illinois and Michigan Canal — Its Extension to the Mississippi River — Its Paramount Importance — Cheap Transportation the Great Want of the Mississippi Valley — Some Curious Legislation — And a Few Statutory Pyrotecnics, etc., etc... 217

CHAPTER XVIII. — Horticulture - Arthur Bryant the Pioneer in This Line Here — Forestry — About Fruits Generally, and Shade and Ornamental Trees — Sketch of Arthur Bryant, etc., etc... 227

CHAPTER XIX. — Gold and Silver Mines — Curious Superstitions About Them — "Way-Bills." Leading to Fabulous Fortunes — How Ignorance Dupes Itself — Tenacity of Ignorant Beliefs — Ancient Fools Perished in the Hunt for the Fountain of Youth — More Modern Ones Also Pursue Their Foolish Dreams of Wealth — Counterfeiters in Their Caves, etc., etc... 237

CHAPTER XX. — Debating Societies — Some Immortal Specimens —Old-Time Church Severity — How These Things are Modified and Bettered — Forefathers' Day in Princeton and Addresses — Discussion About it in the Press — The Puritans Attacked and Ably Defended — The Writers Tartly Review History, etc., etc... 241

CHAPTER XXI. — Drainage — Swamp Lands — Illinois Drainage Laws — The Long Fight to Make Them Effective — How L.D. Whiting Successfully Fights out the Long Battle for the Right — The Great Benefits His Action Will Confer on the Entire State, etc., etc., etc... 262

CHAPTER XXII. — Bureau County Created, 1837 — Election — Bureau Triumphs and Jollifies — "Shut the Door!" — The First Highway — Part of the Old Indian Trail Yet Preserved — First County Officials and Their Acts — List of County Officers Complete, Brought Down to the Adoption of Township Organization - The Civil History of the County, With Sketches of Some of the Prominent Actors, etc., etc., etc... 267

CHAPTER XXIII. - Civil History Continued — Laws, Public and Special, Referring to the County of Bureau and iu Towns — A Complete Index and Reference to the Same, etc., etc., etc... 278

CHAPTER XXIV. — Township Organization Adopted — Board of Supervisors Meet — John H. Bryant First Chairman - List of Supervisors - George McMannis Second Chairman — Premium for Wolf Scalps — John M. Grimes First Attorney for the Board — Terwilleger Overseer of the Poor — R. T. Templeton County Judge — List of Township and County Officers to 1857 — The Anti-Duelling Oath Required — Jacob T. Thompson's Report as County Treasurer — County Officers, Supervisors, and Other Officers — J.T. Thompson — 0.L. Bearss — Sketches, etc., etc., etc... 280

CHAPTER XXV. — Continuation of County Officers — Complete List to Date — Marriages — First One J.H. Olds and Louisa C. Bryant — Powers Exercised by the County Court — Public, Civil and Private Affairs Generally — These Old Law-Makers Regulate the Price of Whisky and Eating and Sleeping and Horse Feed, etc., etc., etc... 291

CHAPTER XXVL. — Courts — Lawyers — Judges, and Those Who Held These Offices — Legal Doings — Lawyers Who Rode the Circuit — Visiting and Local Lawyers — Simon Kinney First Attorney to Locate in the County — Cyrus Bryant the First Circuit Clerk — Sketch of Him — Fuge Songs — Judge Martin Ballou the Second Lawyer to Locate in the County, Now the Oldest Member — Hon. Charles L. Kelsey — How Judge Eraser Lost a Federal Judgeship — Bureau County Electors — Representatives and State Senators— Congressmen, etc, etc., etc... 295

CHAPTER XXVII. — The Press — First Paper the Bureau Advocate — The Three Political Parties Run the Same Paper — A Novel Idea — The Princetonian — Post — Herald — Yeoman — Democrat — Republican — Tribune — Patriot — News — Motor — Tidings — Press — Register — Independent — Call — Home Guard — Times — Who Managed Them — Present Papers — List of Editors and Publishers — Present Papers and Proprietors, etc., etc., etc... 307

CHAPTER XXVIII. — Agricultural Society — Its Commencement and Who Started It — List of Offices — A Successful Institution — Its Great Value to the People — Land in the County — Agricultural Interests — Value and Tax of the Same — Farms — And Much Other Information, etc.... 321

CHAPTER XXIX. — Hon. Owen Lovejoy — The Martyrdom of His Brother Elijah P. Lovejoy — An Event in American History — Owen Lovejoy 's Mission in Life — His Death in the Hour of the Triumph of his Political Principles, etc., etc... 326

CHAPTER XXX. — The Rebellion — Bureau County and its Important Part Therein — The News of the Firing Upon Fort Sumter — A Detailed Account of the Companies, Officers, Regiments and Squads — Killed and Dead — Battles — Politicians - Knights of the Golden Circle — Women's Aid Societies — War Meetings — Bounties — Speeches— Enlisting, etc., etc., etc... 340

CHAPTER XXXI. Schools — Reflections on the Subject Generally — Suggestions and History of Schools — Learned Ignorance — Classical Education — Investigation Invited — Progress of the Schools — The Present Number and Efficiency — The Princeton High School — Teachers, etc... 367

CHAPTER XXXII.— Stock— Graded and Thoroughbreds- Growth of this Industry — Who First Experimented in This Line— Cattle, Horses, etc., etc 379 CHAPTER XXXIII. — Political Matters Generally - Census of the County — Douglas and Stewart's Congressional Race — The Size of the Original District — Post Offices and Postmasters — The County's Vote — Great Wolf Hunts — Roads — Relics — H.L. Kinney, etc., etc... 392

CHAPTER XXXIV. — Odds and Ends — Retrospective - Paths, Indian Trains and Railroads — Blessings Received and Anticipated — Farmers and Their Future Education — The Buffalo and the Indian — Natural Engineers and Places for Great Cities — Douglas, Breese and the Idea of the Illinois Central Railroad, etc., etc... 404

CHAPTER XXXV. — City of Princeton — Whence its Name — First Survey — First Election — Who Voted — Officials — Improvements, Growth, Beauties, Societies, Business, etc., etc... 408

CHAPTER XXXVI. — Townships. Villages and Towns in the County — Additional Information in Regard to Each Township — The Settlers, Prominent Men, etc., etc... 419


List of Portraits.

Allen, Joseph... Facing 400
Battey, Silas... " 340
Boyden. A.W... " 216
Brenneman, Martin... " 322
Bryant, Arthur... " 304
Bryant, John H... " 28
Colver, Jacob... " 416
Dayton. Chauncey L... Between 286 and 289
Dayton, Mrs. Lydia B... " 286 and 289
Edwards, Richard... Facing 96
Fassett, E.W... " 198
Frary, R.B... " 114
Gray, Nathan... Facing 182
Henderson, Thomas J... " 80
Knox, S. M... " 250
Miller, Henry J... Between 164 and 167
Miller, Mrs. Jane... " 164 and 167
Norris, I.H... Facing 46
Reeve, Tracy... " 232
Stevens, B.N... " 268
Stevens, Justus... " 62
Whipple, William M... " 148
Whiting, L.D... " 130
Williams, Solomon... " 366


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Illinois has passed through its pioneer period of development, and from a raw state of savagery and wild waste to one of the foremost States in the Union — already the first State, indeed, in many of those standard articles of agriculture that are contributing so much to make the Upper Mississippi Valley the garden and granary of the world; a State but sixty-six years old (1818-1884) and already in the lead in the number of miles of operated railroads, as well as leading in many of the best agricultural products; the third State in the number of persons engaged in the various occupations of life; a greater population engaged in agriculture than any other State in the Union, and this industry extended during the past decade beyond anything before known in history; her mining and manufacturing industries lagging only behind her agricultural growth, and yet keeping pace well with perhaps any other similar sized community in the world. In all the elements of present wealth and future promise, the State, young as it is, bids well at no distant day to stand peerless and alone. And phenomenal as has been the growth of population and wealth, the increase bears the evidences that it is not sporadic, but regular and permanent, and the limits of its future are too vast for present possible estimate.