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Madison County History

 

By Ten County Eighth Grade Graduates - 1931

 

Source: The Edwardsville Intelligencer, June 13, 1931

These articles were donated by Marsha L. Ensminger

 

TEN CHILDREN READ ARTICLES ON MADISON COUNTY HISTORY -
New Feature for County Graduating Exercises Is Used Here By Supt. Miller Today for First Occasion.
          Ten children, members of the county eighth grade graduating class who received diplomas at the Edwardsville High School this afternoon, provided an entirely new feature for the annual program. Instead of having a speaker, the children read short historical sketches of their respective townships The plan was an idea of County Superintendent of Schools J. E. W. Miller. About three years ago Supt. Miller began urging rural teachers to interest the children in history of Madison County. They were urged to visit places of special interest. One study period on one afternoon during October has been set aside as Madison County History Day. On that day the children read papers on the places they visited. Next year will be the 200th anniversary since the birth of President Washington and with plans for that celebration in mind Supt. Miller decided to have children write essays for the day. The ten high in as many townships prepared the articles. As near as possible the articles are reproduced herewith:
 

CHOUTEAU TOWNSHIP BY HAROLD GRANGE
          Our township. Chouteau, was named in honor of Pierre Chouteau, a Frenchman, who did much in establishing St. Louis. We are situated in the great American Bottoms, our western boundary being the Mississippi River. Geologists have evidence that our region once lay in a vast lake extending from the bluffs to the Mississippi to those of the Missouri River. Nature finally overcame this barrier. Today there remains only two large lakes, namely, Long Lake, which extends five miles in length, and Grassy Lake, which covers 400 acres of land. Mother Nature has endowed us with some of the richest soil of the world. This land formerly abounded wild game and rich forests. It was the home of vast numbers of Indians. The earliest of these tribes were the Mound Builders, as is evidenced by the mounds found at Mitchell and also along the shores of Grassy Lake. The excavation of these mounds has yielded many relics and skeletons of gigantic size. In 1803 a group of travelers found a corn field of nearly ten acres on Grassy Lake that was carefully cultivated by some Indians. Chouteau Township claims the honor of having the first white settlement in Madison County. This settlement was located on Chouteau Island by the French about 1750. No permanent American home was established until 1800. The romantic story of our first settler is as follows: One day in 1794 James Gillham of Kentucky raised his eyes from his daily labor only to see his house in flames. Rushing to the assistance of his family he found the home deserted. The Kickapoo Indians had captured his family, razed his home and fled. Mr. Gillham sold his land and started to search for his loved ones. He passed through the American Bottoms, gazed on its fertility and on and on he continued his search. After five years of traveling he found his wife and children encamped with the Indians on Salt Creek in Sangamon County. With the aid of an Irish trader of Cahokia he ransomed his family and took up his residence near Kaskaskia. The memory of the American Bottoms was like a Promised Lund, and so to this region he moved in 1800, making his new home on Long Lake. In 1815 Congress gave Mrs. Gillham a grant of 160 acres of land In our township in recognition of the privations she had endured with the Indians. To the Gillham and Dunnagan family we attribute many of the noble and divine institutions of our township. By their efforts the first church of Madison County was organized in 1809 at Old Salem, now called Wanda. The first school of our township and the third of Madison County was held in 1813 in a block house which Mr. Gillham had erected two years previous at the time of the Wood River massacre. Isom Gillham was the first sheriff of Madison County. Our first post office was located at Old Madison. OId Madison was situated on the Mississippi, but it's (sic) site has been erased by the erosion of the river. Our homes were constantly menaced by the inundation of the river. By the organized efforts of our citizens the American Dyke was completed In 1866 at a cost of $100,000. This dyke has been sufficient at most periods to prevent destruction of life and property. We have two canals that drain our lang (sic) - the Cahokia Creek Diversion Channel, 4 1/2 miles long, built at the cost of $1,000,000, and the County Drainage Channel. Our township rivals most agricultural regions in its facilities for transportation. We have four steam railways, one electric railway, four paved highways and numerous township oiled roads. Although our chief industry is agriculture the majority of our population are engaged in industrial pursuits. They have located their homes in our midst because they can enjoy a healthy rural life and still enjoy all the modern conveniences of city homes. We help to support six rural schools, four of which are brick buildings, having modern equipment. God has endowed us with the three richest heritages of man. He gave us a fertile soil and through the agency of our pioneer fathers He implanted religion and education. With this triune endowment success and achievement lie before us. Using Walt Whitman's words to express our aim:

All the past we leave behind
We debouch upon a newer, mightier varied world,
Fresh and strong the world we seize,
world of labor and the march.
Pioneers! 0, Pioneers!

 

[NOTE:  Grassy Lake, which is now drained, was once an area of marshes and prairie, where ducks and geese were plentiful. Marsh grasses, 10 to 12 feet high, provided cover for wildlife. The lake itself was a popular area in winter for hockey and ice skating. Grassy Lake was located south of South Roxana, between Rt. 3 and Rt. 111.]

 

COLLINSVILLE TOWNSHIP BY LEO W. E. SILVA
          I am a resident of Collinsville Township which is bounded on the north by Edwardsville Township, on the east by Jarvis Township, on the south by St. Clair County and on the west by Nameoki Township. The city of Collinsville is the township's principal commercial and industrial center and has the honor of being the first city settled by white men in Madison County. The original town plat was laid out by the representatives of William B. Collins, James L. Darrow, and Horace Look. Collinsville therefore received its name In honor of the Collins family. Ephraim Conner was the first American settler in Madison County, and Collinsville had the honor of having this individual locate within her borders. He made a settlement in 1800 which was twenty miles farther west than any other settlement. In 1801 Samuel Judy purchased Conner's settlement. This man manufactured the first brick and erected the first brick house in Madison County. This house is still standing at Peter's Station. Several other old settlers were Sylvanius Gaskill, Hampton McKinley, William Wagner, William Hall, and Richard Long. Where the panther and wolf once hid in the thickets and the deer wandered in droves, are now highly cultivated farms. The broad paved highways have replaced the narrow Indian trails, and over the primitive roads of the pioneer flash the electric cars and trains of today. A part of the bluffs run through Collinsville Township, and in these bluffs the first coal of the state was found. Among these bluffs is Sugar Loaf Mound, named so because of its peculiar shape. It was formerly a signal station of the Indians. The old National Trail runs through Collinsville. This very same route was first an Indian trail, but was later widened into a dirt road, then into a plank road, consisting of an endless trail of planks. My grandfather at one time nailed down planks on this road. It is now one of the best known paved highways in the state. The Collinsville Coal and Mining Company is the owner of the first shaft sunk in Collinsville. It was sunk by Peter Wonderly, and was then worked by horse power. The Lumaghi Mine was sunk in 1860 by Octavius Lumaghi. The Abbey Coal and Mining Company was the most extensive company on the Vandalia Railroad. It was sunk by Reid and Strain. The Cantine Mill was owned by P. Lange and leased and operated by J.Higley. It was later operated by the Teideman Milling Company and its flour won first prize in an Exposition in Chicago. It is still standing near the O'Fallon road on the outskirts of Collinsville.


          The Lithophone is located at Heintzville and manufactures white lead for paints. Blum's Stock Bell Factory was established in 1879. Collinsville had the largest cow bell factory in the United States. It manufactured one hundred dozen bells a day. Mr. O. B. Wilson also had a bell factory and he invented and patented a process of coating cow bells with brass. This factory manufactured one hundred and fifty dozen bell a day. The Forrest City Mills Dress Factory is on west Main Street and makes a large number of dresses, aprons etc. Collinsville had the first township high school in the county. At that time the cost of construction was $55,000. The first church in Collinsville was built in 1818. It was a Union church used by all denominations and also for school purposes. At the foot of Bluff Hill, west of the town is the city's water works. The plant is the best in the state and supplies Collinsville with pure fresh water which is obtained from deep wells. Maryville, where I attended school until recently was a flourishing mining village on the Illinois Terminal Railroad. In 1920 the population was 836, but the closing of the coal mine has greatly decreased the population. In conclusion I wish to say that I firmly believe that Collinsville Township is the best township in Madison County.

 

EDWARDSVILLE TOWNSHIP BY MARIE FLEMING
          Edwardsville Township was named after Ninian Edwards who was governor of Illinois Territory. The territory was unorganized save as to two counties. There were no towns in Madison County except the settlement at Goshen which is now Peters Station on the Clover Leaf about six miles southwest of Edwardsville. The town of Edwardsville was laid out in 1815 on the site named by the governor in his proclamation organizing the county. The home of Thomas Kirkpatrick was named as the seat of government. Some of the old residents of Edwardsville were Ninian Edwards, Edward Coles and Thomas Ford. Edward Coles, the second governor of the state of Illinois, was born in Virginia. He believed that no man had a legal right to make a slave of his fellowmen. At the death of his father he inherited 25 slaves and 1000 acres of land. For a time he traveled in Europe and on his return decided upon Illinois as his home and Edwardsville as the place where he would locate. He went by covered wagon to the Ohio River where he bought two flat boats upon which he loaded his whole party. When the boats were below Pittsburgh he declared his slaves unconditionally free. When he arrived at Edwardsville he issued freedom papers, July 4, 1819. He gave to each head of the family 160 acres of land and saw that the others obtained employment. During his career as governor there was a continuous fight against slavery. One of the pleasant occurrences at this time was the visit of his old friend General LaFayette to Illinois. With a delegation from Edwardsville he welcomed the distinguished guest at Kaskaskia. After a while interest in the anti-slavery cause declined and Coles had saved Illinois to freedom. There is a monument of Coles in the Valley View Cemetery.


          Some of the old residents were George Coventry, who erected a mill in Edwardsville on the Tan Yard Branch in 1813. Abraham Prickett, who opened the first store in 1816 Benjamin Stevenson, who also operated a store. The first marriage of which there is a record was that of James Gillham and Polly Good. The first court was held in the home of Thomas Kirkpatrick with John Lofton and Jacob Whiteside as judges and Josias Randle as clerk. Until 1817 the courts were held in the taverns of the town. The next Court House was a brick which stood on the site of our present Court House. Madison County, on Monday, October 18, 1915, celebrated the completion and occupation of the new quarter-million dollar Court House at Edwardsville, the county seat. From the outside the building appears to be but three stories in height and this is true except in the second street end. Here there arises another story which is carefully concealed from view from the street. In this portion is housed the quarters of the jurors. After entering the building and through the low vaulted causeway there is a vast lobby. The open court is uniform on all the floors. In the early days the Indians had paths through the forests which were later traveled by the pioneer and his wagons. After the first meeting at Thomas Kirkpatrlck's home a plea was made for better roads. Six road districts were laid out employing 111 men. For many years the improvements consisted in building bridges over the streams at the old fords and in building plank roads with toll gates at which fees were collected for driving over them. Ox teams were used upon the country roads in bringing products to market while cattle and hogs were driven on hoof. There were country inns along the routes, to accommodate travelers. One of them which is the Three Mile House is still standing. In 1832 the four horse stage coach line was inaugurated and operated between St. Louis and Springfield, through Edwardsville, this being the dining stop. Five cents a mile was charged. In 1836 plans were made for many railroads. Some which were never completed due to a financial crash in 1837. Some of the principal railroads of our township are the Wabash, the Illinois Terminal, the Litchfield and Madison, Clover Leaf, Illinois Central and Nickel Plate. The two electric railroads are the East St. Louis Interurban and the Illinois Traction System. Edwardsville gets its water from the pumping station which is at Poag. This water is pure and naturally filtered because of the deep beds of sand and gravel through which it filters into deep wells. Edwardsville is not a factory town although it has a large number of manufacturing plants. The N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Co., located their works here in 1890 and in the suburb of Leclaire in honor of the French pioneer profit sharer. The U. S. Radiator Corporation, the Richards Brick Company, flour mills, planing mill and three lumber yards are the chief plants. Another industry of importance is coal mining of which there are three in Edwardsville, the Henrietta, aEst (sic) Side and oDnk (sic) Bros. In Glen Carbon the Madison Coal Corporation operated a mine employing 800 men. This township has fertile land especially at the foot of the bluffs. The products produced are corn, wheat, oats, hay, potatoes and many vegetables. Dairying and stock raising are important also. The raising of watermelons and cantaloupes make up the chief crops of Poag. From Saturday, September 14, until Saturday, September 21, 1912, Madison County observed their hundredth anniversary during which the Centennial Monument was unveiled and dedicated in the city park near the library. It is made of a single block of Georgia marble. On the four fronts are the four figures representing Justice, Wisdom, Virtue and Plenty. Engraved upon it are these words: "In grateful memory of the early settlers who by courage, industry and endurance transformed a wilderness into a land of peace and plenty." The American Legion purchased a park opposite the new Edwardsville High School which they are improving yearly. It would be almost impossible to mention in this sketch all the early settlers of Edwardsville who tilled their ground with an ox team and wooden plow and the girls who rode horse back to church and when Taffy Pulls were society's big events. But we wish to give especial mention to whom we think is the oldest pioneer William Southard of Poag, commonly known as Uncle Bill, an old Civil War veteran of 1861-65. He was born October 7, 1883, at Paducah, Ky., and will be on his next birthday 98 years old. He is still hale and hearty and has an exceptionally good memory. He can tell you of all the settlers of the last 85 years in Edwardsville and near by townships and of all the old merchants. His favorite saying is "Keep your head up and you will never be in the dumps." Uncle Bill's favorite poem is "Looking Aloft"


In the tempest of life,
When the wave and the gale are around and above,
If thy footing should fail,
If thine eyes should grow dim and thy caution depart,
Look aloft and be firm and be fearless of heart.

 

HAMEL TOWNSHIP BY GILBERT HIGHLANDER

          I represent Hamel Township, my township is located in the northern part of Madison County, and is bounded on the north by Omphghent Township, on the east by Alhambra Township and the south by Pin Oak Township and on the west by Ft. Russell Township. It is described as Township 5, Range 7, west of the 3rd principal meridian. The township derived its name from Mr. Jack Hamel, a prominent farmer and merchant of that place who lived in  section 11 near the present site of Mr. Schrader's home. Township organization was established Nov. 2, 1875 and the first township election was held in Mr. G. A. Engelman's workshop on March 6, 1876. Mr. Wm. A. Mize, who lived in section 21, was elected the first supervisor. Robert Aldrich, who came from Massachusetts, was the first settler locating in Section 29 in 1817. He later served this district in the Legislature. The farm where he located is still owned by his descendants. May I recall to your memory several of the other old settlers of my township? August Wilkening, probably the eldest of the settlers surviving, is still living here, and takes a great interest in the township's affairs. Another is the late Mr. Schlecte who lived where the Lutheran church now stands. Mrs. Bardelmeier has lived in this township seventy-three years. She is now 84 years of age but has given us several interesting facts about our township, regardless of her age. The late Mr. Wold owned and operated the store of which his son William Wolf (sic) is now proprietor. Many of you know and have met the descendants of these early settlers or probably the early settlers themselves, to whom we are so greatly indebted. In 1835 the Edwardsville-Hillsboro Road was established through this township and the Alton-Greenvllle Road in 1837. During this time people from Staunton or other northern points wishing to go to St. Louis would seek lodging for the night at the home of Mr. Hamel, and continue on their journey the next day. At the present time both of these roads are paved, the former known as State Route No. 4 and the latter as Route 160. The Wabash Railroad was the first railroad built through this township and was, completed in 1870. The electric railroad was begun in 1904. The Lutheran Church, the oldest church now In use, was built in 1861. It being the only denomination near the settlement of Hamel for many years. Later an Evangelical and a Presbyterian Church were built. The latter is no longer in use. Joseph Thompson taught the first school In Hamel Township in 1825. The school was located in section 29. The first record of a meeting of the board of school trustees of this township was held at the Quercus Grove school house on April 6, 1868. The officers were Ernst Erbe, president, Thomas, J. Barnett and Isaac Hall, trustees. H. K. Eaton was township treasurer. Today we have four schools in the township, the Hamel school, Carpenter, Quercus Grove and Columbia schools. The latter is the school I attended during the entire eight years of school work. The school trustees of Hamel Township now are Arthur Stille, Gus Weber and E. T. Eaton. The treasurer is E. C. Bardelmeier. All are prominent men. Mr. Bardelmeier has been our treasurer for 23 years. He is an active citizen for the benefit of the interests and progress of his township from the political standpoint, as well as socially. Being located in a fairly good farming region, the industry of my township has always been farming. Fruit raising has been carried on to a great extent, but it not now an outstanding industry. Carpenter, Hamel and Fruit Station are in Hamel Township. Each operates a grain elevator. Carpenter and Hamel are surrounded by residents whose occupants have taken up different occupations. In 1921 fire destroyed all buildings where Cassens Filling Station and Garage is now located in Hamel. The maps of the layout of Hamel township were also burned, making it necessary to survey the townships again. The population in 1890 was 1205, while the census of 1930 shows 969, a decrease of 236. Hamel Township is now seemingly among the progressing townships of its kind in Madison County, and I trust, with the assistance of the boys and girls of today, with their opportunities and conveniences it will grow to the height of importance and prosperity to which it is entitled.

 

NAMEOKI TOWNSHIP BY A. J. MUELLER JR.
          Nameoki Township is located in Township 3, North Range 9 West, and is of a regular square shape, having 36 sections or 22,600 across of land, is bounded on the north by Chouteau, east by Collinsville, south by St. Clair and west by Venice.  It lies almost wholly in the great American Bottom, hence is low and level. The soil is of a sandy loam and of a great fertility and with proper cultivation and drainage is the garden spot of Madison County. Horseshoe Lake, which is of about 2000 acres, was known to geographers as Maria's Mensoul. Long Lake crosses the county diagonally entering on section 12 and leaving out on section 3 being nearly 5 (five) miles in length. Cahokia Creek crosses the southern part of the township. The word Nameoki is of Indian origin and signifies "smokey." It was first given as a name to a station between St. Louis and Indianapolis rail road by A. A. Talmadge, who was a conductor, the name was latter given to the township.
There are evidences that long before the white man came that the Indians were making history for Nameoki Township, because in the southern parts on sections 34 and 35 are several mounds from which have been taken by the State Archaeologists many interesting Indian bones and relics. Of the mounds the most interesting is the one known as Monk's Mound, so named after the monks of La Trappe who are said to have inhabited this mound about 1807. It is said that to these monks the first credit of the discovery of coal in Nameoki Township is due. This discovery was caused only by the blacksmiths complaining for the want of proper fuel for their fires, and on being Informed that the earth at the root of a large tree which had been struck by lighting (sic) was still burning, they went to the spot and on digging a little below the surface discovered a vein of coal. In 1816 the monks reconvened their property to "Jarrot the donor," they then returned to France. The first sturdy pioneers to blaze the way of civilization across the sandy prairies of this township were Hanniberry and Wiggins in 1801 who settled on what is the present section 16 near the 6 mile house now in section 15.


          No living descendants can be found in Madison County to impart any Information as to whence they came or whither they went. The first white man to erect or start any enterprize (sic) in the township was Nathan Carpenter, who erected a horse mill on section 16. This being the first mill in Madison County, Carpenter had little or no competition. In 1804 Thomas Cummings came to our township with his large and honest family and settled in section 17. Thomas GiIlham was the first Justice of the Peace and subsequently held the office of commissioner. The first school was taught in 1812 by Joshua Atwater. Dr. Smith was the first physician to practice his profession in the bottom. Reverands (sic) Chance and Jones, Baptist missionaries were the pioneer ministers in this township which begun as early as 1813. The first brick house was built by Robert Whiteside on section 21 in 1820. The first farm was opened in 1805 by Thmas (sic) Cummings in section 15.
The first cemetery was on section 17 about 1810 in which Dr. Smith was buried and his epitaph still remains visible. Severe floods menaced our county and township, the first one being in 1844. Steamboats picked up refugees and transported them to St. Louis or Alton where they remained until the water subsided. This flood deposited many feet of sand and mud over our township. The next flood was in 1851 but not so severe, then again in 1903. To protect the farmers crops and all that was so dear to the hearts and so easily destroyed by the floods, a levee has been thrown up extending almost the whole distance across the Township from northeast to southwest. January 2, 1851, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows broke ground to build their home which still stands adjacent to the Nameoki City Hall on highway No. 4. The industries in the township in 1858 were a drug store, a blacksmith shop, a hotel, a physician's office and a U. S. post office. Since the wonderful beginning of whose (sic) who braved the pioneer test, Nameoki Township has made great strides forward. The industries in the township in 1931 are the coke plant, the N. E. S. Co , the steel mill, the Lewis tar plant, the Laclede steel mill, the fertilizer plant, the ice plant, an ice cream plant, an oxygen plant, the Illinois Traction Co. shops and many minor industries. Nameoki Township also is proud of its school system, the first standard school being started by Mrs. Lillie Pettengill, at Stallings, Ill., which recently was replaced by a modern up-to-date brick school on the same location of the first standard school in the county. These are the heretages (sic) of the boys and girls of Nameoki Township but it remains for our generation to preserve, improve and enlarge upon these wonderful works begun by our persevering forefathers until Nameoki Township is not only a place of historical Interest but can be pointed out with pride for its civic progress and a locality in which one can always be proud to Iive. I thank you.

 

NEW DOUGLAS TOWNSHIP BY ROBERT M. PRANGE
          New Douglas Township 6, Range 5, is one of the smallest townships in the county, only two other townships having less territory. In 1843 the legislature clipped 12 sections from its eastern side and attached them to Bond County. It an area of 15,967 acres, most of it being a level plain with the exception of a little timber in the northeast and western parts. It has a population of 679, 335 of whom reside in the village. The first settler was David Funderburk, a native of South Carolina, who served through the war of 1812. He located on section 7 in the fall of 1810. He taught school there in 1823 in a small cabin built near his home. The children coming from adjacent townships. The second school house was a log cabin built in 1839. It stood on the western part of section 18. Nelson Sparks was the first teacher. We now have a 4 room brick school building and employ 4 teachers. We have a 3-year recognized high school which has 2 teachers, and we have 2 teachers in the grades. Mr. O. L Haile has been our principal for 3 years but is continuing his schooling at the Southern Illinois State Normal at Carbondale and Mr. Wayne Halford, of Sorento has been elected to take his place. We have 3 rural schools Pisgah, Mt. Calvary and Gehrig. Elm and New Douglas were consolidated in 1930, and the country children are brought to our school in a bus. The first sermon was preached in 1827 at the home of David Funderburk by a Baptist missionary. Oliver Foster moved into New Douglas Township in 1857 and laid out the village of New Douglas. The original village contained 20 acres. The village was named New Douglas in honor of Senator Stephen A. Douglas, by its founder. Alonzo Foster was the first mayor. E. W. Bunn our present mayor has served the village for 17 years. In 1860 Costen Sawyer opened up the first place of business with a small stock of goods. We now have 2 stores, a bank, a mill, a drug store, 2 garages, a furniture and undertaking establishment, a hotel, a confectionery, 3 blacksmith shops, a depot and a creamery. We also have electric lights furnished by the Illinois Light and Power Company. The post office was established in 1863 with mails twice a week from Staunton. Miss Minnie Prange is the postmistress now. Our village is well provided with churches, having 6 - Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Evangelical and Lutheran. The most exciting and tragic incident in the history of New Douglas was the frightful tornado of 1876. It destroyed 11 dwellings, 2 churches, a school house and the Masonic Hall. Many were Injured, and a local minister Henry C. Young, was killed. Another tornado passed over New Douglas in the spring of 1912, but did little damage, except taking the roof and part of the upper story off the Prange flour mill and destroying the Hickory Grove school house 3 miles east of New Douglas. The Nickle Plate Railroad extends through New Douglas Township and intersects the southern limits of New Douglas. The early settlers were tree planter and the fruitage of their labors is seen in well shaded streets, groves, parks, and public grounds. The main street of the village is a broad boulevard a mile or more long shaded by giant maples. The village has a beautiful park and there is another splendid grove of maple trees which was donated to the Old Settler's Picnic Association. This association, was organized about 1895 and is composed of citizens of Madison, Bond, Macoupin and Montgomery counties. They hold a reunion each year in their beautiful grove. John Volentine was the first president of this association and C C Pitt holds this office at the present time. New Douglas has one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the state. It has been under perpetual care since 1924. The first purebred calf club organized in Illinois was organized at New Douglas in 1917 by Prange Bros., bankers. New Douglas Township raises all the leading agricultural staples and is a stock raising and dallying country. An average of 2000 gallons are trucked each day to St. Louis and Highland. New Douglas Township has two oiled roads, one connects with Route 4 at Livingston, the other with Route 160 at the Rockwell School. At the present time a hard road is being built that connects New Douglas with Livingston. Andrew Jackson was the first supervisor serving 1876-1877. Irvin McMullen is the present member of the board. John Camp who served the township in this capacity for 3 terms was formerly editor of the New Douglas World. He moved his office to Staunton and has had no successor in New Douglas. He is now located at Livingston. Our village has always been noted for its hospitality, and I extend cordial invitation to the class of 1931 and their relatives and friends to visit us there.

 

PIN OAK TOWNSHIP BY JULIA KNECHT
          One of the interesting things about the township in which I reside is that it was named after a tree - the Pin Oak. A grove of Pin Oaks in section sixteen, which was later used as a military training camp, prompted the settlers to call it that. The first settlers came here in 1808. They were Joseph Bartlett, Mr. Lockhart and Mr. Taylor. The story of their first years spent here is similar to that of any other pioneer. They built themselves cabins and cultivated a small amount of land. I have been told that my great great grandparents came a few years later. They settled east of Fruit on a farm now owned by Louis Klein. In the early days about half the land was timbered, and all would have been but for the frequent prairie fires. Later when more settlers arrived and the fires were checked, new groves of timber sprang up and flourished. Then there were the wars. Joseph Bartlett, whom I have mentioned before, served in the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War. Service in these two wars was general among the pioneers. They had to defend their new homes or lose them. In a certain aspect Pin Oak is one of the most interesting townships in the state as the scene of a historical incident. It will be remembered that in 1819, Edward Coles of Virginia, having freed his slaves brought them to Madison County and settled them on land purchased in Pin Oak Township, from 3 to 4 miles west of Edwardsville. He gave each adult male a quarter section. This colony of freed slaves prospered. The settlement at one time numbered about 300. But at present all have died or moved away with the exception of 2 or 3 families. I will now speak of the growth of the township from the educational standpoint. The first school was held in 1808, the same year the first settlers arrived. It was built of logs and was situated on the farm later bought by Jubilee Posey. Mr. Atwater was the first teacher. This little log school house marks the beginning of a school system which now consists of 6 public schools. Pin Oak has been and still is a strictly agricultural township, covered with fertile farms. It is adapted to all the staple crops and to stock raising, dairying being an important industry. Although this township was one of the earliest settled in the county it is the least populous. It being an agricultural one accounts for that. There are two small stations Kuhn Station and Fruit Station. Both take their names from pioneer families of that name. There are no churches. At one time the colored people supported two churches, a Baptist and a Methodist, but they no longer exist. You have followed through with me a short history of my township. We are proud of the men and women who have helped to make this history. We, who are graduating, are just beginning our lives and beginning to take an interest in the world about us. May we live a life of service so the future generations can equally be proud of us.

 

ST. JACOB TOWNSHIP BY EARL J. GEIGER
          In the southeastern part of Madison County lies the rolling prairies of St. Jacob Township. This township, St. Jacob, was named after four of the early settlers namely - Jacob Schooth, Jacob Spohn, Jacob Schilli and Jacob Willi. My great grand-father, William Geiger, was the first white child born in what is now called the St. Jacob Township in the year 1811. Other early settlers of the township were the Pike, Dugger, Anderson, Rule and Parkinson families. The Pike family settling there as early as 1818 which was 56 years before the township was organized which organization was effected in the year 1876. Abraham Howard was the first constable and it is said he had one Indian scalp to his credit. The first doctor in the township was Dr. B. F. Stevens. He came here with the soldiers who were returning from service in the Civil War, established a practice and spent his entire life in the community. This township seemed to be a favorite resort of Indians as the many relics such as arrow heads, tomahawks, etc., collected by land owners will testify. Between the timbers an Indian burial ground was discovered and tales were told of treasure chests buried along the banks of Silver Creek by Indians. An Indian log fort stood near the southern approach of the overhead bridge. At the northern approach stood the first school of the township, a log structure, which was replaced by the Augusta Church in which school was conducted for a short period of time. At the present time the churches of the township are the Evangelical, Catholic and Methodist Churches. A Baptist Church in the southern part of the township has been abandoned. One of the early schools of the township was located west of St. Jacob on what is now the National Trail. George Deiber, of Alhambra, still living, attended the first of school in this log school, which was abandoned in 1874 when a two room school was built in St. Jacob in which Fred Halsey and Pauline Tobler were the first teachers. This school has been enlarged and now employs five teachers. There are at present five rural schools in St. Jacob Township which are as follows: Qui Vive, Virgin, Oak Grove, Faires, and Frey. The Oak Grove school was destroyed by a cyclone on Easter Sunday, April 12, 1903, and was rebuilt. The Virgin school was destroyed by fire about eight years ago and was also rebuilt and a new building also replaces the old one in the Frey district. This shows the difference in the surroundings in which our forefathers obtained their education In comparison to us and also shows the stress placed on education at the present time.  St. Jacob Township has four cemeteries. The Keystone, which is the largest, was deeded to the county by Robert Taylor, the Augusta, by Wm. R. Renfro, the Anderson by Major Anderson. The Dugger Cemetery which lies in the northeastern part of the township, was originally a private burying ground for the Dugger families, hence its name.


          The principal industry of St. Jacob has been milling. Mac Callily's mill which was located a short distance north of town, was later owned by Valier-Spies and transferred to town when the railroad was built. The mill, like many others, has passed into disuse. Farming and dairying have always had an important place as a means of livelihood among the farmers. The National Trail passing through the town of St. Jacob and many miles of the township has increased the value of the land and made us neighbors with surrounding towns, so that boundary lines of townships and states seem almost a thing of the past. As we look back over the years that have sped by we see as in a vision the great future, not only of St Jacob Township, but of the county as a whole.

 

SALINE TOWNSHIP BY SAMUEL AMBUEHL
          Saline Township was evidently named on account of a salt well in the southwestern part. It is bounded on the north by Leef Township, on the east by Bond County, on the south by Helvetia and the west by Marine Township. Silver Creek runs through the northwestern part and Sugar Creek through the southeastern part. The township contains about 22,562 acres, ordinarily it was equally divided between timber and prairie land, but now very little timber remains except along the creeks. The township is noted for its romantic scenery. The first traces of settlement were found in the southwestern part in 1809. The first house was built by widow Howard, who had come from Tennessee. She selected a ridge at the edge of the timber affording a fine and extensive view of the surrounding country called Looking Glass Prairie. Later this was named Sonnenberg, meaning "Sun Hill". The first settlement in the northern part of the township was made by Archibald Coulter who came from Kentucky and located upon the present Mudge place. About 1818 the McAllily family from Kentucky settled near the Marine road, but finding no water at that place they moved south. There Mr. McAllily planted the first fruit trees in this section which was the McAllily settlement. One night he shot and killed one of the largest panthers in the settlement, measuring nine feet from tip to tip. The animal had been in a tree on the present Ambuehl farm. At that time deer were also seen daily trooping over the prairie in droaes (sic) from ten to fifty. Even an elk was killed while bears and wolves were very numerous. In 1823 Wm. Briggs, from Kentucky found salt brine near Sugar Creek, sunk a salt well to a depth of 440 feet and started salt works, this however did not pay sufficiently so was soon abandoned. Most of the early settlers of this and adjacent townships came from North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Another of our very prominent early settlers was Solomon H. Mudge, father of E. W. Mudge now of Edwardsville. He came from Portland, Maine and engaged in banking in St. Louis. In the spring of 1836, he purchased 1800 acres of land, building a fine summer residence a short distance southeast of the village of Saline or Grantfork, affording a grand and distant view of the landscape south and east. The ground around the residence were (sic) laid out and improved in beautiful park like style, admired by all who had the pleasure of seeing it. Several years after building the residence he engaged in the hotel business in New Orleans, but spent the summer months at his country home, where he was buried after his death in 1860. In 1831 a Swiss colony called New Switzerland was started by the Koepfli family and the Suppiger brothers. Later other families from Switzerland and Germany followed. These people, like others from the old country were industrious, frugal and contented people adapting themselves to the trying conditions and circumstances of the time, striving with courage and energy to overcome hardships. This settlement or colony later became known as Highland. There is no village or town wholly in the township. About one-sixth of the northern part of Highland is in Saline Township, all built up since the advent of the railroad. The village of Saline or Grantfork lies on the township line in about equal parts in Saline and Leef Townships. The same being the case In Pierron, which is partly in the township and partly in Bond County. The village of Grantfork was first known as a crossroad place called Fitz James laid out in 1840. The first house was built by Thomas Johnson. John Duncun opened a store and kept a tavern called Fitz James Hotel. Later the Bardill brothers became owners of the store and finally John Bardill became sole owner and succeeded jn getting a post office established there. The village now has a good store, garage, blacksmith shop, a fine Catholic Church, a new Protestant Church called the Grantfork Evangelical Church, recently built, and a two room brick schoolhouse. Pierron, another small village was laid out by Jaques Pierron in 1871. It is a station on the Pennsylvania Railroad, formerly called the Vandalia. A post office was established with August Pierron as first postmaster. A two story brick store building was erected, its present owner being Wm. F. Mewes. Within the village now is located a grain elevator, blacksmith shop, two stores, a large Catholic Church and school, a public school, garages and other business enterprises as are required. The township is an agricultural section, raising mostly corn, wheat oats and hay, but is largely devoted to dairying, especially where recently a large dairy called "The Highland Dairy Farms" has been built in the northern part of Highland. This is a large business enterprise which gives employment to many laborers. The township throughout contains a good educational system with good schools. The early settlers as well as those coming later were ever thoughtful and ready for sacrifice to provide for the education of their children. There being no school houses in the township, teachers were engaged to teach in private houses until public school houses were built. Before 1831 no school house or church had been built in the township but now we have fine churches of different denomination (sic) and one of the finest systems of education with the best of schools. I am certain you will agree with (sic) on this point if you will just look before you and see us all here today.

 

WOOD RIVER TOWNSHIP BY ARNOLD WESTERHOLD
          Wood River Township was named from Wood River, a stream which flows through it. The township is favorably located for commerce, agriculture and the varied industries which form such an important factor in its life. The first inhabitants of Wood River Township were the Indians. Among the first white settlers of Wood River Township were Thomas Rattan, William Moore, George Moore, Reason Reagen and Abel Moore. Later the wife and two children of Reason Reagen, two children of William Moore and two sons of Abel Moore were massacred in the Wood River massacre, one of the most cruel and startling things ever committed by the Indians, which happened the 10th of July, 1814. The victims of the Wood River massacre were buried in Vaughn Cemetery, the first regular cemetery of the township. Here the first Baptist Church of the township was built. The decendants (sic) of Abel Moore have erected a monument in memory of the victims of the Wood River massacre. The monument was erected September 11, 1910, about 300 yards east of where the massacre actually took place. In East Alton, at the foot of Milton Hill is where Lewis and Clark camped in the winter of 1803 and 1804. Here they built boats for their western journey to explore the Louisiana territory which was purchased from France in 1803. One of the first towns of Wood River Township was Milton, located where Wood River breaks through the bluffs and the Alton-Edwardsville Road crosses the stream. It was founded by Walter J. Seeley. It became a flourishing village and in 1818 boasted a grist mill, two sawmills, a distillery, a store, a blacksmith and a tavern. Power for the mills was obtained by a dam across the Wood River. The dead backwater of the dam caused sickness and many of the people died of malaria fever and were buried on the adjacent hillside, known as Milton Cemetery. The remaining settlers sought other locations and the houses were torn down and moved away. Today the town of Milton is known as East Alton. In 1808 George and William Moore, two gunsmiths, established a crude powder mill. Today the Equitable Powder Co. and Western Cartridge Co. are two of the largest of their kind in the west. The first school house was located in section 4 and was built of logs. It was taught by a man named Peter Flynn. Within two miles of this first school house are now located Shurtleff College, one of the first colleges of Illinois, Western Military Academy, the High School of Upper Alton, and a hospital for the unfortunates which is one of the largest in the State of Illinois. The cities of Wood River Township are Wood River, East Alton, Hartford, part of Bethalto, Upper Alton and Roxana. Wood River is the largest of these and is a flourishing city. The city is growing rapidly and in 1910 had a population of 484, and today it has a population of 8376. In Wood River is located the refinery of the Standard Oil Co. In Roxana is located the refineries of the Shell Petroleum Co. and White Star. The crude oil is conveyed in pipes from long distances to these refineries, where it is made into different grades of oil. The Tannery of the International Shoe Co , the Federal Lead Co., the Laclede Steel Co., the Stoneware Pipe Co., and a paper mill are among the leading industries of Wood River Township. The towns of Wood River Township are provided with modern conveniences, such as paved streets, good water and sewerage systems, electricity, telegraph, telephone and postal service and ample police and fire protection. There are good roads leading out of the township in all directions. So Wood River Township ranks among one of the most important of Madison County.

 

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