History of Knox County, Illinois
Over a half century has rolled its years away since this section of Illinois was first chosen for a home by the white man. The trials, sufferings and struggles that were experienced in converting even this fertile land from its virgin wildness into the luxuriant and densely populated country now existing can never be fully portrayed. Although, as in many frontier settlements, the ground was not consecrated by the blood of pioneers and their families, yet human tongue or pen can never accurately picture the vicissitudes and trials of the advanced guard of civilization who pitched their tents in Knox county. Their labors were as trying to their mind as to the body. Physical and mental strength waste together, and the memory of names, dates and events becomes lost by the confusion of accumulating years. Events that were fresh in memory ten to twenty years after their occurrence are almost if not entirely forgotten when fifty years have passed. If not entirely obliterated from memory's tablet, they have become so dim that when we call for information concerning the past it is often given with many doubtings and much hesitancy; while others were positive and often as immovable as to their correctness as Gibralter. For instance, one man insisted that the Black Hawk war was in 1830. Again, we were informed that Michael Fraker came to Lynn township in 1828. The information came from reliable sources, yet from other facts we had deemed the date incorrect and set about a careful investigation; and after weeks of patient labor found the date of his settlement to be 1830. We refer to these to show how apt people are to let their memories betray them. The best memories will differ in the particulars of past events, some seizing upon one detail and some on another; hence often arises honest difference. Many may question the dates given in this work. Indeed it is more than likely some are wrong, for it is not expected that it is so perfect as to be above criticism, for the book is yet to be published that can justly claim perfection; but it is the Publishers' hope, as it is their belief, that it will be found measurably correct and generally accurate and reliable. Industrious and studied care has been exercised to make it a standard book of reference as well as of interest to the general reader. If in such a multiplicity of names, dates, etc., some errors are not detected it will be strange indeed.
It may be claimed that many important events of early history are omitted, or but casually mentioned. For this we can say we are not at fault. For weeks and months we begged for information. In the very incipiency of our labor no pains were spared to interest the people of all parts of the county in the work. We published 25,000 copies of the Historic Record and sent them broadcast over the county; appeals were made through the various papers; beside these, hundreds of letters have been written and hundreds of journeys made. We have been willing and anxious to get every important scrap of history. The items gleaned from public records are full, complete and correct. We doubt if the public journals will ever be read more carefully than the perusal we gave them. From July 7, 1830, the date of the opening of the first record, to the present time, every page of the many musty old volumes was carefully read. The chain of official events was followed from the first.
Every item given we were careful to have correct, and not being satisfied with our own knowledge of facts had the various articles read by responsible parties who were known to be acquainted with particular events. We have had much of the early history read and corrected by Major Thomas McKee, who every one knows is perhaps the best posted man in the county on pioneer history. We have also had Hon. W. Selden Gale, State's Attorney J. J. Tunnicliff, County School Superintendent Miss Mary Allen West, and many others of well known authority, read manuscript and proof and make needed corrections and suggestions.
Our soldiers' list is full and was very carefully compiled. Months of labor were bestowed upon this one item; and should there be a soldier whose name is not recorded here we believe the omission not our oversight; and investigation will show him credited to some other county. It was impossible to obtain the correct spelling of some of the names.
In the latter part of the work — the educational and religious history and sketches of cities and towns — we were compelled to condense more than we would have done could it have been avoided. As it is we give to our subscribers a book of 750 pages instead of one of 600 pages, which is as large as we ever promised to any one. By additional pages and smaller type we have increased the amount of matter by at least one-half. From comparison with other county histories we believe it to be more full and complete than any similar work published in the State, and trust, with all of its imperfections, it will prove satisfactory to all. In this confident belief we submit to the enlightened judgment of those — our subscribers — for whose benefit it has been prepared, in the assurance that it will be kindly received.
We have avoided indulging in general reflections or mere speculations, excepting such as naturally rose out of the subject under consideration, preferring to give a minute narrative, omitting no particular that was characteristic of the persons, the events or the times, and endeavoring to place every fact in such a point of view that the reader might see the county in all its various stages of progression. We have labored faithfully and conscientiously, with no thought of swindling or humbugging the people, as we believe our work will show.
Table of Contents
I. Early Settlement, 100
First Settlers, 100 — Knox County, 106 — Prairie Fires, 110 — The Big Snow, 116 — Going to Market, 117 — Money, 119 — First Celebration, 120 — Militia, 121 — Bee-Hunting, 121— Courts, 125.
II. Important Labors of the County Commissioners' Court, 128
Organization, 128 — First Meetings of the Court, 129 — Circuit Court, 132 — Revenue, 133 — First Court House, 133 — County Seat, 137 — Judicious and Liberal Commissioners, 137 — School Commissioner, 139 — Log Jail, 140 — Knoxville Named, 141 — Licenses, 14 1— Brick Court-House, 143 — Jail at Knoxville, 145 —
Escape of Prisoners, 145 — Horse-Thieves, 146 — Last Meeting, 146.
III. Black Hawk War, 149
IV. Geology of Knox County, 161
Surface Geology, 161 — Economical Geology, Stone for Building, 165 — Limestone for Lime, 166 — Coal, 166.
V. Zoology and Botany, 168
Quadrupeds, 168 — Birds, 168 — Fishes, 175 — Trees and Shrubs, 176 — Vines, 180 — Herbaceous Plants, 180.
VI. Archaeology, 185
VII. Pioneer Life, 188
Log Cabins, 188 — Selections of Homes, 189 — Milling, 190 — Native Animals, 193 — Cooking, 197 — Implements, 197 — Women's Work, 199 — Pleasures of Pioneer Life, 200.
VIII. Underground Railroad, 201
Black Laws, 201— Mode of Running the U.G.R.R., 202— Aunt Sukey, 203 — Bill Casey, 206 — Galesburg Station, 210 — Ontario Station, 211 — Hitchcock Station, 311 — Arrest of the Rev. John Cross, 312 — Rev. John Cross Again, 313.
IX. Railroads, 216
X. Criminal Record, 227
First Murder, 227 — Other Murders, 228-233 — Gilson Murder, 233 — Horse Stealing, 240.
XI. Old Settlers' Association, 241
XII. Important Labors of the Board of Supervisors, 247
County Court, 247 — Township Organization, 249 — Alms-house, 253 — War Record, 262.
XIII. The War — At Home, 274
The Tocsin of War, 274 — Liberality of Those at Home, 281 — Soldiers' Aid Society, 289 — The Close, 302.
XIV. The War - In The Field, 305
The War, 305 — Stone River, 305 — Prison Life, 306 — Incidents of Enlisting, 308 — The 102d, 30 9— Knox County Volunteers, 312-379 — The 4th Regiment, I.N.G., 379 — Band, 381 — Regimental Officers, 382 — Drum Corps, 382 — Company A, 383 — Company B, 383 — Company C, 383 — Members of Battery, 384.
XV. Resources of the County, 385
XVI. Political, 404
XVII. Personal Incidents and Miscellany, 422
Historical Items from Rev. Wright's Journal, 433 — Indian Boy Killed, 437 — Big Storms, 437 — Sudden Changes, 439 — Cold Weather, 439 — Wet Season, 430 — A Ferocious Dog, 430 — Lost Children, 431 — Race to Quincy, 433 — Early Milling, 437 — Canada Thistles, 438 — Bee-Raising, 439— Pop-Corn and Mustard, 440
— Prizes for Hogs, 441 — Matrimonial, 443 — Catamount, 448 — Wolves, 448 — His First Trip, 448— An Old Hatter, 449— Aerolite, 449 — Table of Distances, 450 — County Funds, 450 — First Things, 450.
XVIII. The Bar and Officials of the County, 452
The Bar, 452 — County Commissioners, 460 — Treasurers, 463 — County Clerks, 463 — Circuit Clerks, 463 — Sheriffs, County Judges, County School Superintendents, Coroners, Surveyors, 464.
XIX. Temperance, 465
XX. Township Histories, 479
Indian Point, 479 — Cedar, 480 — Galesburg, 483 — Henderson, 484 — Rio, 484 — Chestnut, 486 — Orange, 486 — Knox, 486 — Sparta, 487 — Ontario, 495 — Maquon, 496 — Haw Creek, 497 — Persifer, 498 — Copley, 500 — Walnut Grove, 501 — Salem, 502 — Elba, 503 — Truro, 504 — Victoria, 507 — Lynn, 508.
XXI. Blooded Stock, 512
XXII. Manufactories, 516
Frost Manufacturing Company, 516 — The Steel Flow, 519 — The Novelty Machine Works, 521 — Brown's Corn-Planter Works, 521 — Broom Factory, 529 — Hemstreet Carriage Manufactory, 530 — Marble Works, 530 — May Brothers' Windmill, 530 — Cheese Factories, 531.
XXIII. The Press, 533
Newspapers of Galesburg, 534 - Kuoxville Papers, 537 - Abingdon Papers, 540 — Oneida and Maquon Papers, 543.
XXIV. Education, 544
Early Schools, 544 — Holiday Treating, 548 — The Loud School, 551 — Knox College, 553 — Cherry Grove Seminary, 563 — Lombard University, 563 — Abingdon College, 571 — Hedding College, 579 — St. Mary's School, 585 — Western Business College, 595 — Ansgarl College, 596 — Knox Agricultural School, 598 — Galesburg Public Schools, 602.
XXV. Religious, 604
Old School Baptists, 604 — Methodist Episcopal, 604 — Christian, 609 — Presbyterian, 610 — First Church, Galesburg , 6ll — Baptist, 614 — Congregational, 617 — Lutheran, 618 — Christian of Christian Connection, 618 — Universalist, 619 — Catholic, 619 — Protestant Episcopal, 619 — United Brethren,- 620— Protestant Methodist, 620— United Presbyterian, 620 — Swedish Independent, 620 — Galesburg City Mission, 620.
XXVI. Cities and Towns, 622
Knoxville, 232 — Henderson, 623— Galesburg, 623 — Maquon, 640 — Hermon, 641 — Abingdon, 641 — Union Town, 642 — Victoria, 643 — Oneida, 643 — Altona, 644 — Wataga, 644 — St. Augustine, 645 — Summit, 645 — Gilson, 645 — Yates City, 645 — Rio, 646.
Biographical Sketches, 647
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The Territory of Illinois was formed into a State by an act of Congress April 18, 1818. In July and August of the same year, a convention was held at Kaskaskia for the purpose of drafting a constitution. This constitution was not submitted to a vote of the people for their approval or rejection, it being well known that they would approve it. It was about the first organic law of any State in the Union to abolish imprisonment for debt; The first election under the constitution was held on the third Thursday and the two succeeding days in September, 1818. Shadrach Bond was elected Governor, and Pierre Menard Lieutenant Governor. Their term of office extended four years. Their December 3, 1818, Congress by a resolution declared Illinois to be "one of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects. " At this time the State was divided into fifteen counties, the population being about 40,000. Of this number by far the larger portion was from the Southern States. The salary of the Governor was $1,000, while that of the Treasurer was $500. The Legislature re-enacted, verbatim, the Territorial Code, the penalties of which were unnecessarily severe. "Whippings, stocks and pillory were used for minor offenses, and for arson, rape, horse-stealing, etc., death by hanging was the penalty. These laws however were modified in 1821."