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History of Nameoki Township, Madison County, Illinois

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

Nameoki Township (Township 3, Range 9) lies within the American Bottoms. It is bounded on the north by Chouteau Township, east by Collinsville, south by St. Clair County, and west by Venice Township. Horseshoe Lake occupies nearly 2,000 acres in the township. This lake was formerly known as Marais Mensoui (Marais is French for “swamp”). Long Lake crosses this township diagonally, having a length of nearly five miles. Several other small lakes or marshes are within its borders. Passing across the southeastern part is Cahokia Creek.

The word Nameoki (nama-ohke) is of Indian origin and means “fishing place.” This name was first given to a railroad station on the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad by A. A. Talmadge. There are several Native American mounds in sections 34 and 35 – the most prominent of these is Monk’s Mound, named after the monks of La Trappe who lived on the top of the mound. You can read more regarding the Monk’s Mound by clicking here.

The first pioneers to settled in Nameoki Township were Patrick Hanniberry and Mr. Wiggins, in 1801. They settled on section 16. This settlement became known as Six Mile, from the fact that it was six miles from St. Louis. Wiggins was married, while Hanniberry was a single man. There are no records of where they came from or where they went after they left.

To the southeast, across Horseshoe Lake, on sections 35 and 36, was Quentine or Cantine Village, established by Deloom and others from Prairie du Pont, in 1804. At one time is was a handsome village and the center of considerable trade. It became a straggling village, which followed the meanderings of Cantine and Cahokia Creeks for several miles.

In about 1804, Nathan Carpenter arrived in the township. He erected a horse mill near Wiggins’, on section 16. It was the first effort at milling in the township. Carpenter was industrious, and built a fine farm.

In 1804 or 1805, Thomas Cummings located on section 17. He had a large family, and was an honest and energetic pioneer. His sons were declared by many old settlers to have been the largest boys ever raised in Madison County. In 1817, he and his family moved to Jersey County.

Isaac Gillham, a native of South Carolina, came to the township about the same time as Cummings. His children were: Thomas, William, John, James, Isaac Jr., Margaret, susan, and Jane. Thomas was elected a Justice of the Peace, and subsequently held the office of County Commissioner. The father, Isaac, and four of his sons died during the winter of 1844-5. Isaac had been a Revolutionary soldier. One of his daughters married Robert Whiteside.

Amos Squire came to Illinois from Maryland in 1808. He came with Governor Bond and others, and stopped first at Kaskaskia. In 1805, he married Temperance Worley at Fort Chartres. Here, two sons were born – Samuel and Joseph. Amos chose a pleasant place which had been improved years previous. A pear orchard had been established by the French, when they occupied the Grand Isle (now Chouteau Island). He was the first Justice of the Peace in the township, and held the position for twenty years. He was a Captain in the War of 1812, and was stationed for a time at Fort Russell. Amos died August 12, 1825, and was buried in the family cemetery. This was the first interment there. His son, Samuel Squire lived on the old homestead.

Among other early settlers were Henry Hayes, Isaac Braden, John Clark, Henry Stallings, and Dr. Smith (the first physician). Dr. Smith was drowned in 1815 in Kaskaskia River.

Henry Hayes, a native of Pennsylvania, came to the township in 1811 and settled on section 9, where he remained for thirty years. Amid a deep forest, he planned and developed a fine farm. For pastime and amusement, he loved to hunt the wild bee and gather honey. He raised a large family.

John G. Lofton was an early settler and an active leader. He represented Madison County in the Territorial Legislature at Kaskaskia in 1816.

Isaac Braden came to the township in 1817. He was from Washington County, Pennsylvania, and came in company with Valentine Kinder, who brought a large colony with him. The party came by flatboat from Wheeling, Virginia, to Shawneetown. From this point, their stock was driven across country, then by keelboat to St. Louis. The Hawk family came with them. Thomas Kinder Sr., was a man of sterling worth, and died beloved.

Robert McDow, a Kentuckian, settled near what was later Kinder Station. He had a horse mill in operation.

The first land entries, after the surveys made by John Messinger, Moore, and Frazer, in 1814, were as follows: September 15, 1814, Jacob Linder, section 4; September 14, 1814, John Hawks, section 5; August 13, 1814, Hardy Willbanks, section 5; September 14, 1814, John Atkins, section 6; September 14, 1814, Henry Hayes, section 9; September 27, 1814, Matthew Kerr, section 10.

The first brick house was that erected by Robert Whiteside on section 21, in 1820. The first farm was that of Thomas Cummings in section 17, in 1805. The first cemetery was that on section 17, on land belonging to Cummings. The first interred there was a member of that family, in about 1810. The first married couple were united by Amos Squire, Esq., previous to 1812 (Antoine Thomas and Cynthia Scott).

Those who served in the War of 1812 were John Atkins and his two sons (William and John Jr.), Amos Squire, Isaac Hoadley, Phineas Kitchell, John Thompson (killed at Rock Island), and Henry Hayes.

During the flood of 1844, this township suffered great destruction. Five-sixths of the township was under water. Steamboats from St. Louis, sent to the aid of the people, landed on section 6, at the site of an old Baptist Church, where citizens had sought refuge. They were taken to St. Louis or Alton.

The First Schools
The first school was taught in 1812 by Joshua Atwater. The second school was taught by an Irishman named McLaughlin. While Samuel Squire was yet a lad of six years, McLaughlin gave him a terrible flogging. The incensed father, upon his return from war, took the Irish teacher to task for his lack of good sense.

The First Churches
Revs. Chance and Jones, Baptist Missionaries, were the pioneer preachers in Nameoki Township. As early as 1813, they preached Christianity from house to house. Rev. Lemen followed soon after.

The first meeting house was the old Six Mile Church on section 17. It was built by the Methodists in 1832. The Baptists built Ebenezer Church in 1842 on section 6. This building later passed into the hands of the Methodists.

The Village of Nameoki
When the Indianapolis and St. Louis Railroad was constructed in 1858, a station was located on the boundary line between sections 5 and 6. The conducted of the railroad gave the station the name of Nameoki. To read more of the history of the village, please click here.

 

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