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History of Collinsville Township, Madison County, Illinois

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser


Collinsville Township (Township 3, Range 8) is bounded on the North by Edwardsville, East by Jarvis, South by St. Clair County, and West by Nameoki Township. The bluffs form a chain running due north and south across the western part of the township (just to the east of Highway 157). Sugar Loaf Mound is the most prominent point on the bluffs in this township. It is cone-shaped, rising to a considerable height, and was supposed to have been the work of the mound builders. This mound was used by the Indians as a burial place, and may have been used as a signal location. Today, the mound is used as a station of the U. S. Geodetic Survey. It was designated in 1871, and is marked with a tablet on its summit.

Visit this website to learn more on the U. S. Geodetic location of the Sugar Loaf Mound station.

The township is well drained by Cantine and Cahokia Creeks and their numerous tributaries. The streams offered an abundance of water for stock and manufacturing. Originally this township was covered with a heavy growth of timber, which settlers cleared to make way for their farms.

Ephraim Conner was the first American settler in Madison County. He settled in Collinsville Township in about 1800. Conner was a squatter, and one year later, in 1801, Samuel Judy purchased his improvements and settled there. Samuel Judy was born August 19, 1773, and was the son of Jacob Judy, a native of Switzerland, who settled in Kaskaskia in 1788. Jacob was a gunsmith by trade. He resided at Kaskaskia four years, and then moved to New Design settlement in Monroe County. He had a very early mill, which was patronized by settlers. He died at his mill seat in 1807. Samuel Judy, then 15 years of age, came with his father to Illinois and became a hardy pioneer. In his youth, he entered into any campaign against the Indians, and it was said by Governor Reynolds that he was the “bravest of the brave.” During the War of 1812 against the Indians, he was actively employed in the service. He was in command of a company of spies under Governor Edwards, and in the year following he was Captain of a company under General Howard. In the Fall of 1812, he was elected to the legislative council of the Illinois Territory. He held this position for four years. He was elected to the office of County Commissioner for many years. Colonel Judy was an energetic man, and improved a large plantation and became wealthy. He manufactured the first brick, and erected the first brick house in Madison County. This was in 1808, and was located just within the limits of Collinsville Township, on the line dividing sections 5 and 6. It was a two-story home. Colonel Judy married Margaret Whiteside, sister of General Samuel Whiteside, and reared a large family. Their children were:

Jacob, who married a daughter of William B. Whiteside and became the Register of the Land Office at Edwardsville. Jacob died May 15, 1850 in Weston, Missouri.
Sarah Judy was born August 21, 1800, and married Ambrose Nix. She died January 14, 1852.
Samuel Judy Jr. was born September 1801, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Stephen Whiteside. They settled in Greene County, Illinois, and he died there in about 1870.
Thomas Judy was born December 19, 1804.
Nancy was married to Moses Whiteside, son of William B. Whiteside. She next married John Owens. Her third husband was Thomas Grant.
Katherine died at the age of 17 or 18. Margaret was first married to John McGaughey, and next to Moses Barber.

After a long and useful life, Colonel Judy died January 12, 1838.

In 1802, there were several additional settlements made, including the Whitesides; Robert, Samuel and Cyrus Seybold; Grotts; and others. They were all brave, hardy pioneers who were accustomed to a frontier life. Robert Seybold and the Grotts were soldiers in the American Revolutionary War.

In the winter of 1802, “Turkey Foot,” an evil-disposed and cruel chief of a band of Pottawatomie Indians, while returning home from Cahokia to their village toward Chicago, met Alexander Dennis and John Van Meter at the foot of the Mississippi bluff, about five miles southwest of the present town of Edwardsville. Turkey Foot, on seeing the settlers extending their settlements towards his country, became angry and killed the two men. This was in the northwest corner of Collinsville Township.

In 1803, Samuel and Joel Whiteside settled and made a claim in the northeastern portion of the township. The Whitesides were among the most noted men engaged in Indian warfare in Illinois, and struck terror among the Indians. William and John, the old patriarchs, were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. These two brothers came to Illinois in 1793 and settled at New Design. Samuel and Joel made the first improvements on the uplands in Collinsville Township. Samuel rose to considerable distinction in the frontier wars, and was promoted to Brigadier General.

Peter Casterline made a claim in section 32, just west of Collinsville. He settled there soon after 1800, and resided there for some time.

John Whiteside made a claim of 100 acres, mostly in sections 1 and 2.

Levi Piggot made a claim of 100 acres, mostly in section 29. He was an old resident of St. Clair County.

Francis Louval made a claim of 101 acres, which included the military claim of William Young Whiteside. It was located in the northwestern part of the township.

Samuel Judy made a claim of 100 acres. Isaac West made a claim in section 19. West was a settler, and had considerable improvements in 1802. He continued to reside on this place until 1812, when he sold out to William Rabb.

The south boundary of the township was surveyed in December 1807 by John Messenger. The east boundary was surveyed in January 1808, and in May 1810 the township was surveyed and subdivided into sections.

A Frenchman by the name of De Lorm, from Cahokia, settled in the southwest part of the township, not far from Cantine Creek, in 1804.

The first land entry in the township was August 22, 1814, by John Turner. It consisted of 160 acres in section 25. On September 15, 1814, William Gillham entered 253 acres in section 8. On September 23, 1814, David Gaskill entered 161 acres in section 13. Robert McMahan entered 159 acres in section 13 on August 22, 1814. On September 5, 1814, Micajah Cox entered 80 acres in section 5. On September 28, 1814, Michael Healy entered 80 acres in section 11. Section 16, reserved as school land, was sold in 1837.

In 1813, Abner Kelly, Josiah, William, Andrew and John Wallace, with their families, settled under the bluffs. The Wallaces soon moved to the Marine settlement, and later to Boonville, Missouri. Abner Kelly located in section 20 near the Sugar Loaf Mound, where he lived for a short time, and moved to the eastern side of the township. He raised seven children.

Michael Squiers settled on section 28 on the Stephen Johnson place, as early as 1814. He had three sons – Amos, Joseph, and Wates. Michael was the first person buried in the Collinsville Cemetery.

John Hadley was born in Maryland in 1776, and when a young man went to Kentucky where he married Miss Guthrie. They settled in Madison County at an early date. On June 20, 1817, Mr. Hadley moved to Illinois and settled on Pleasant Ridge in Collinsville Township. He was a volunteer in the Ranging service of 1812. His children were: sons, James, Dempsey, and William. William was born in Kentucky in 1806. He was a Methodist minister, and was among the early preachers in Madison.

John Williamson, a native of Virginia, came to Madison County in 1819 from Tennessee with his wife and three children. He purchased from Michael Squiers 100 acres of land in section 28, where he lived until his death in October 1828.

David Morgan settled in the township in 1817. Mr. Bennett, Abraham Clapole, Mathews, Moffatt and Richard Muirheid settled under the bluffs west of Collinsville before 1820. Muirheid died there. Stephen Johnson arrived in Madison County in 1818. He was present at the treaty made by the Commissioners of the United States with the Kickapoo Indians at Edwardsville, August 6, 1819. Johnson was a carpenter by trade. He located in Collinsville about 1829, where he married the step-daughter of John Williamson.

After the close of the War of 1812, and treaties of peace were made with the Indians, immigrants began to move into the county. In a short time, the rattle of the saw and grist mills was heard, and the rude log and pole cabins of the pioneers was replaced with larger and more comfortable frame buildings. Schools and churches were established.

The following were among the older settlers: William Hall, Philip Teter, Robert Rundle, Sylvanus Gaskill, John Conoway, Richard Long, George Armstrong, Luther Drury, Mr. Revis, Lewis Scandlin, Hampton McKinney, Benjamin Johnson, William Wagner, James Hutchinson, Jacob Swigart, and some of the Lemens. Guy Morrison was also a settler, and a very large landowner at one time. John A. Cook was prominent among the later settlers. He came to Illinois in about 1833 or 1834, and married Mrs. Lucinda Bowman, daughter of Rev. James Lemen of St. Clair County. She was the widow of Samuel Bowman of Greene County, a Captain in the Black Hawk War who was shot by Indians on August 2, 1832. In April 1836, Mr. Cook purchased of Ezra Post the northeast quarter of section 22, and he sold the same to John L. Clark, and bought of Andrew Waddle the northeast quarter of section 1, where he resided until his death on July 15, 1869. His wife, Lucinda, died August 25, 1867. They were parents of twelve children. John L. Clark was also an early settler.

John Anderson, born in 1793 in New Jersey, and a patriot of the War of 1812, came west in moved to the Marine Settlement in 1820. He later became a resident of Collinsville Township, where he died April 11, 1875.

J. J. Renfro was born in Madison County in 1830. He resided in section 24. His wife, Nancy E. Gaskill, was born in Madison County in 1839.

Fielding Woolridge settled in the county in 1830.

Hon. D. D. Collins, a native of Portland, Maine and a retired farmer, resided on section 27. He came to the county in 1843. Mr. Collins was an associate judge of the county for several years, and was among the prominent and respected citizens of Collinsville.

John Anderson resided on section 23, and was a native of New Jersey. He settled in the county in 1822.

Early Mills
One of the first mills in Collinsville Township was that of Talbott’s on Cantine Creek, just south of Collinsville. It was first propelled by horsepower, and subsequently by water. Colonel Samuel Judy and others also had horse mills

In about 1812, Isaac West sold his claim to William Rabb, who in the Spring of 1813, erected a large, four-story frame water mill, with a run of three or four burrs. It was propelled by the water of Cahokia Creek. It was a merchant mill, and quite extensive for those days. The flour was of excellent quality, and found a good market in St. Louis. Mr. Rabb also had a store, with a complete line of general goods. He was elected in 1814 to represent Madison County in the third Territorial Legislature. In 1820 he sold his property and business interests to Joseph Hertzogg, who added a distillery. Hertzogg continued the business for several years, until his death.

Dempsey Guthrie, who settled about two miles northeast of Collinsville, operated a horse mill until 1818. A Mr. Pickern erected a saw and grist mill in 1825, on Cantine Creek, south of Collinsville. He sold the mill to Luther Drury.

In 1804 or 1805, a school was taught in a log cabin on Peter Casterline’s place, about a mile west of Collinsville. The teacher was James Bradsbury. This was undoubtedly the first public school in Madison County.

In 1812, a school was taught in Samuel Judy’s by Elisha Alexander. Mr. Thompson taught there in 1813, and was succeeded by Mr. Yancy. In 1816 came Mr. Enlow, who taught for six months.

There were several log cabin schools in Collinsville Township, but little of their history can be found. They were all subscription schools, where the teacher boarded with locals.

Pleasant Ridge
Pleasant Ridge was located in the center of section 10, and was entirely a German settlement. Henry and William Blum were the first settlers. The little village contained a general store and saloon, kept by Charles Anacker; a blacksmith shop by John C. Shoettle; and a shoemaker, Frederick Nordmaier. The Lutherans building a brick church and schoolhouse.

The Town of Heintzville
Heintzville was surveyed and platted in the fall of 1800 by Walter Rutledge, for J. L. Heintz, the proprietor. The plat contained ten acres in section 27. By 1882, the town had 22 houses, with a population of about 150. It contained one store, a blacksmith shop, zinc works, coal mine, and stone quarry.

The City of Collinsville
The original town plat was laid out by the representatives of William B. Collins, Joseph L. Darrow, and Horace Look. It was located in section 34 in Collinsville Township. The first settler was John A. Cook, who entered land in about 1816, erected a log cabin, and made improvements. In 1817, three brothers, Augustus, Anson, and Michael Collins, from Litchfield, Connecticut, purchased the premises of Mr. Cook. They erected a distillery of logs, a frame storehouse, a large double-decked ox-grist and saw mill, cooper, blacksmith, wagon and carpenter shops, tan yard, and several dwellings. Thus, was laid the foundation of the present city of Collinsville. The brothers first named their town Unionville, but when a post office was established, it had to be renamed as another town existed by that name. It was changed to Collinsville.

To read more on the history of Collinsville, please click here.


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