History of Piatt County, Illinois

We do not present this book to the public as a model literary effort, but expect it to be classed with county histories only. Neither do we claim it to be a complete history, since no complete history was ever written. But we do claim it to be a record of the most important items that could be collected by one person in over two years of unceasing labor. The object of the book is to preserve certain valuable items relative to the county's past and present, which, but for the preparation of such a book, could not have been collected. With the failing memories of the citizens, and the passing away of the pioneers, the opportunity for obtaining such items would soon have been lost.

The writer has spared neither time, trouble nor expense, and in addition to riding 172 miles by rail within the limits of the county, has traveled, by actual count, in a carriage, 883 miles, stopping for neither cold nor stormy weather. Doubtless some mistakes occur; but our best judgment has been used, and we have conscientiously striven to keep out as many errors as possible. Since not more than ten men out of every hundred interviewed could give the exact date of their marriage, it will not be strange if some of the dates are wrong. A number of men could not give the number of their children without stopping to count them up. Several would have left out one of their children's names had not the child appeared during the interview. One man averred he had ten children, but upon counting them over time and again, said. "I guess there are only nine, but I thought their were ten! " Upon asking one man if any of his children were in the army, he said. "Yes, a boy and a girl, " which statement he afterward contradicted. Frequently people are unable to give the names of their married sisters, their grandchildren, and, in some cases, their own children, even. One or two men actually had to study awhile before they could give the names of their own wives. After such answers having been given relating to personal items supposed to be well established in each person's mind, if mistakes occur in this book, they will be the more readily excused, or at least the people will know some of the disadvantages we have labored under in obtaining facts.

There are some worthy and important persons in the county whom we failed to see, which fact is regretted, but it would take many more than one trip over the county ere all of the over fifteen thousand of the county's inhabitants could be found at home, or at leisure sufficient to be interviewed. Although we advertised in the county papers for personal matter, many that we wished to hear from did not reply. Although over one hundred pages have been added that were not promised to our patrons, still we were obliged to cut out some of the personal items. We have endeavored, however, to leave out the sketch of no person who encouraged us to go on with the publishing by agreeing to take one of the books.

In our travels among the old settlers we heard a great deal about the hospitality of the old times, and we want to take this opportunity to assure the public that the county still retains a great deal of that estimable virtue. In the majority of cases we were greeted cordially by the people, and many times were we entertained cheerfully in the homes in the county.


List of Illustrations

Residence of James A. Piatt,... (Frontispiece)
County Court House,... 23
County Jail,... 57
Map of Piatt County,... 105
County Poor House,... 137
Residence of Ezra Marquiss,... 171
Portrait of James A. Piatt, Sr.,... 205
Portrait of Mrs. James A. Piatt,... 230
Residence of F.E. Bryant,... 273
Residence of John Dickson,...307
Residence of F. K. Bkvant, . 273
Portrait of Wm. H. Piatt,... 341
Portrait of Mrs. Wm. H. Piatt, . . 375
Residence of Richard Monroe,... 409
Residence of W.m. H. Piatt,... 443
Portrait of F. E. Bryant,... 477
Residence of Michael HarshBarger,... 511
Portrait of Ezra Marquiss,... 545
Portrait of J. O. Sparks,... 579
Residence owned by Sam'lAller- ton,...613


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The present Indians of the United States constitute, it is supposed, the third distinct race which has inhabited North America. Their origin is still but a matter of conjecture. The most common supposition, however, is that they sprang from some of the early peoples of Asia. According to Indian tradition they came from the northwest. Their "happy hunting grounds" were always toward the west. The Algonquion and Iroquois branches of the American Indians are the only ones which played a conspicuous part in Illinois history.