The History of Henry County, Illinois

But few can realize the task involved in the publication of a work of this kind. We have to contend against ignorance, prejudice and selfishness. Ignorance of some people as to our objects, many refusing to give their names, for fear they will be used for some swindling purpose; or their politics, lest it be used to their discredit; or how much property they own, fearing it is to increase their taxes. Prejudice of people who have subscribed through agents for publications, and not having received what they expected, have forever thereafter sworn warfare against all agents, without discriminating, or taking into consideration the absolute necessity of employing men under certain circumstances as the media between publisher and people. Selfishness by citizens who expect to have published, gratuitously, every thing they see fit to send us, which usually is of a personal nature, or not relevant matter, and if published would be of no general interest, therefore we deem best to suppress it, thereby receiving their outspoken enmity. For this work we do not claim perfection; that would be an impossibility. Most townships have been gone over thoroughly, but still there are undoubtedly errors, mostly in spelling names and in dates. We have several cases in Henry County where members of the same family spell their names in different ways, and a number of cases where the dates of births, of marriages, or when they came into the county, were improbable, and when brought to their notice, they had made a mistake generally of ten years in calculation. We give our agents the most positive instructions to be especially careful in getting names and dates, but ofttimes men are indifferent in, giving required information, and when met on the road, at the thrashing machine, or in the rain or cold, the information is given hurriedly or carelessly, and our agents are obliged to put it down as given them, and when copied, mistakes necessarily occur.

We have endeavored to get the names of all tax-payers and voters. We have about 8,300 names, the vote being about 5,500, which shows we could not have missed many. In our History of the County we have endeavored to give an interesting, condensed and correct sketch. Our History of Illinois will give the reader some interesting and valuable historical facts. Our Laws should be carefully read by every business man and farmer; they contain invaluable information. In fact we have toiled long and at great expense, and have far exceeded our promises to make every thing in these pages interesting and valuable, and all you could expect or wish, and in your criticisms, please to bear in mind that in gathering, compiling and publishing a volume of this kind, perfection would be an impossibility.

We wish to extend our sincere and warmest thanks to the citizens of Henry County for their kind treatment, and for assistance rendered us in furnishing information for this work. They are too numerous to here name, but to the press and early settlers in particular we are grateful for their labors in aiding us to gather the material for the History of the County. The Cambridge Chronicle furnished us with its files of 1858 and 1859, which contained a series of articles by Dr. A.A. Dunn, its editor, on the early settlement of the county, and from them we have taken much of our early History.


Table of Contents


History of Illinois 13
History of Henry Co. 116
History of Towns

CHURCHES OF HENRY CO. not mentioned in Town Histories 541


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The name of this beautiful Prairie State is derived from Illim, a Delaware word signifying Superior Men. It has a French termination, and is a symbol of how the two races the French and the Indians were intermixed during the early history of the country.

The appellation was no doubt well applied to the primitive inhabitants of the soil whose prowess in savage warfare long withstood the combined attacks of the fierce Iroquois on the one side, and the no less savage and relentless Sacs and Foxes on the other. The Illinois were once a powerful confederacy, occupying the most beautiful and fertile region in the great Valley of the Mississippi, which their enemies coveted and struggled, long and hard to wrest from them. By the fortunes of war they were diminished in numbers, and finally destroyed. "Starved Rock," on the Illinois River, according to tradition, commemorates their last tragedy, where, it is said, the entire tribe starved rather than surrender.