History of Logan County, Illinois

What wonderful changes a few years produce!

Less than sixty years ago not a white man dwelt in the present confines of Logan County. All was Nature's wildness, inhabited only by wild beasts and wild men, and seen only by the wandering white man in search of new scenes, the reckless hunter, or the daring adventurer. Its beautifully rolling prairies, charming wooded streams, or enchanting groves, were then the homes of the Kickapoos, Pottawatamies, or Delawares. How all this by the hand of progress has been changed! Now the busy hum of industry is heard on every hand, and the voice of civilization echoes where once only the howl of wild beasts and the voices of wild men were heard.

Fifty-eight years ago Mr. James Latham erected a cabin near Elkhart Grove, and with his family entered therein and became the pioneers of the county. His son, Col. Robert B. Latham, was then about one year old, and is the only surviving member of that family now living in Logan County, and is therefore its oldest resident. He has indeed seen the Past of this county, and now lives to enjoy its Present.

A short time after, Mr. Robert Musick came to Sugar Creek and founded for himself and family a home. He, like Mr. Latham, had been here during the summer and planted a crop. He has likewise been gathered to his fathers, and his young children are now old men and women.

The flight of time during all these years has not been without its history; a history full of important events, and fraught with interest to the sons and daughters of the pioneers from the old firesides in Kentucky, Indiana, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and from far countries beyond the wide seas, seeking new homes in a land where every one is free. The industry of these hardy, adventurous pioneers, and of their descendants, has made Logan County what it is. Their labors have changed the fertile prairies, valleys and grove-covered hillsides from a dreary wilderness to a literal garden. On every hand are the signs of an intelligent, prosperous and cultivated community. A stranger could scarcely believe that the Logan County of to-day was a virgin waste half a century ago; and to preserve the story of this wonderful change of the county, and to hand it down to posterity as a link in the history of the great country of which Logan County is an integral part, has been the object of this undertaking. While the publishers do not arrogate to themselves a degree of accuracy beyond criticism, they hope to have attained a large measure of accuracy in the compilation and arrangement of the almost innumerable incidents found in the Past that so largely enter into the history of the Present. Without the aid of the survivors of those early days or their immediate descendants, this could not have been accomplished. From their memory, notes and diaries these facts and incidents have been gleaned, and though an error here and there may seemingly occur, the reader must not hastily conclude that the history is in fault, but rather test his own opinion with that of others familiar with the matter. Every statement herein given has been obtained from parties personally acquainted with the facts, and in no instance has any assertion been received from secondary sources without proper verification.


Table of Contents


History of Northwest Territory
HIstory of Illinois
History of Logan County


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When the Northwestern Territory was ceded to the United States by Virginia in 1784, it embraced only the territory lying between the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers, and north to the northern limits of the United States. It coincided with the area now embraced in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and that portion of Minnesota lying on the east side of the Mississippi River. The United States itself at that period extended no farther west than the Mississippi River; but by the purchase of Louisiana in 1803, the western boundary of the United States was extended to the Rocky Mountains and the Northern Pacific Ocean. The new territory thus added to the National domain, and subsequently opened to settlement, has been called the "New Northwest," in contradistinction from the old "Northwestern Territory."