History of McDonough County, Illinois
It is now two years since I conceived the idea of publishing a sketch of McDonough county, for that was all really intended. The first to whom I submitted my plan was Hon. Benjamin R. Hampton, who approved the same as far as it went, but suggested its enlargement, and referred me to Hon. James M. Campbell, Hon. Alexander McLean, Joseph E. Wyne,and others for their opinion. Each one encouraged the enterprise, but with the suggestion that I should publish not only a short sketch, but a full and complete history of the county. Prospectuses of the proposed publication were at once issued and the work began. In order to test the enterprise a partial canvass of the city of Macomb was made, and in three or four days' time two hundred subscribers were secured, and I was thus encouraged to continue the work and solicit subscriptions from those living in other towns and in the country.
Of the magnitude of the work I then had no conception. I was of the opinion there were yet living many of the old pioneers from whom information could be obtained without difficulty; but in this I was greatly mistaken. Few indeed are the number dating their residence in the county previous to the year 1830; and even of those of from one to five years later, the number is fast becoming perceptibly less. Since the projection of this work, quite a number have been called to their long homes, of whom we now recall the names of Hon. James Clarke, Hon. Cyrus Walker, Vandever Banks. T.J. Pennington, John Clark, David Seybold, John Lane, and Larkin C. Bacon, the last mentioned passing away while the work was in the hands of the printer. From some of these we expected to obtain much valuaable information, and had single interviews with one or two, with the promise of others; but "Man proposes and God disposes."' The interviews were never had, and now their lips are hushed in death, and no more will their stories of pioneer life be listened to with interest and pleasure by those gathering around their hospitable firesides.
The author has labored under many adverse circumstances in the prosecution of the work. Without a dollar in his pocket or to his credit, without material assistance of any kind from any source, he began the compilation of a work that has required two full years to complete.
As previously remarked, the difficulty in securing information was far greater than he anticipated; especially has this been the case with respect to dates. In order to learn the dates of the settlements made by William Carter and "William Job, several weeks were spent in visiting and interviewing old settlers, besides writing many letters to those who had formerly lived in the county and were supposed to be cognizant of the facts in the case. The conclusions arrived at are satisfactory to his mind, and will be to the mind of any who will take the same trouble to obtain the knowledge. The same car taken to learn the exact time in which the settlements mentioned were made, has been taken to verify every fact given. That errors may creep in, however guarded one may be, cannot be doubted ; but I believe they will be few and far between.
Although in the compilation of the work much time has been spent, and therefore it has been quite tedious, yet it has not been unmixed with pleasure. Many days and nights have I spent in listening to the stories of the old pioneers; ever hearing something new; now laughing and then crying, as the ludicrous or the pathetic was narrated; and then in the study of the character of our fathers and those of the present generation, time with me has slipped quickly away.
And now, at the close of my labors, I cannot lay down my pen without returning thanks to the many kind friends who have assisted me in obtaining information, and have encouraged me from time to time with words of cheer; especially would I remember Hon. James M. Campbell, Hon. Alexander McLean, I.N. Pearson, Circuit Clerk; Joseph E. Wyne, Deputy Circuit Clerk; A.L. Sparks, County Clerk; Hampton & Hainline, publishers Macomb Journal; Thomas Fulkerson and Charles E. Hume, all of whom have placed me under special obligations. I would also not forget Rev. B.N. Wiles, of Macomb, who, by his advice and counsel has greatly assisted me, nor Charles C. Chapman, who has been a co-laborer with me in the work. The printing is from the office of D.W. Lusk, State Printer, Springfield, Illinois, and great credit is due him for the handsome typographical appearance of the book. The binding is from the same establishment, and superintended by George E. Boos, the excellent foreman of the bindery department, who is entitled to thanks for the faithful manner in which he has performed his part of the work.
My work is now done, and it is presented to you with the hope that it may please; that its errors you will kindly overlook, and that you will be well repaid in its perusal.
Table of Contents
Early settlements... 17-26
The lost child... 39-45
Murder of John Wilson... 46-48
Personal incidents and anecdotes... 49-57
Early settlements... 66-75
The Mormons... 76-98
A newspaper and a railroad... 99-107
Home life and amusements... 108-112
Various matters... 113-119
Division op the county... 120-139
The war - at home... 167-181
The war - in the field... 182-241
First impressions - marking stock... 242—246
New court house and jail... 247-256
Other railroads... 257-159
Newspaper enterprises... 260-266
Underground railroad... 267-279
Stone coal - clay... 280—282
M'Donough county agricultural society... 283-286
Black laws... 287-289
Resources of the county... 290-300
The bar of M'Donough county... 301-312
Railroad business... 313-315
Biographical sketches continued... 435-481
Biographical sketches continued... 482-526
Religious continued... 551-583
Industry - Doddsville - Middletown... 642-646
Prairie City... 647-655
Colchester - Tennessee - Hill's Grove and Colmab... 677-686
Sciota - Good Hope — Adair — New Philadelphia — Walnut Grove and Scottsburg... 687-692
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The first settlement of McDonough county of which we have record was in the spring of 1826. Previous to this time the county was in a state of unbroken wildness, the home of red men,' who roamed at will over its broad prairies, engaged in occupations peculiar to their race. No one, save the old settler, or one who has visited the far West, can fully realize the beauty of the country at that time. Dividing the county centrally north and south, we had upon the east a broad prairie extending as far as the eye could reach, the tall grass gently undulating like the waves of the sea, while upon the west the giant oak, the stately elm, and the useful hickory seemingly pierced the very heavens, and stood as faithful sentinels over their entire surroundings. No fallen timber or undergrowth of any kind obstructed the passage, the annual prairie fire making a clean path for all. A prairie on fire! Have you ever witnessed one? The sight is a magnificent one indeed.