Weekly column published in The Rushville Times with information furnished by officials of the Schuyler Jail Museum.
Transcribed by Amanda Detrick.
Wednesday, September 5, 2001
Fall is fast approaching, which means that the summer hours of the Schuyler Jail Museum will be
in effect for only two more months. We are now open seven days a week from 1-5p.m. but starting Nov. 1, we will only be open on weekends.
In 1824 Woodstock township was still a happy hunting ground for the Indians. The white person
was regarded as the intruder and the lives of the settlers were often in danger. The Naught homestead was a great curiosity to the more friendly Indians, to
such an extent that they sometimes had to be driven out in order to make room for the rightful occupants.
In the Fall 2000 issue of The Schuylerite, there is an interesting article about the Naught
family of Woodstock Township. It seems that George Naught II, who passed away in 1886, loved to relate incidents of pioneer days. “He remembered how the
Indian squaw used to lean her papoose at the cabin door, while she went inside to interview the white squaw. Also the Indian who persistently traded honey for
salt with his mother, Nancy Naught, until she could no longer exchange. She told him everything was full. The Indian went to the barrell and found it full and
overflowing, remarked: ‘White squaw tell no lies....,’ “He also related how his uncle, George Naught I, became a very good friend to an
Indian hunter...The Indian became jealous of the new settlers and joined in a proposed attack of the white settlers. But, he could not slay his friend without
warning. One day after a long hunt he remarked To George I, ‘Not Red Men going to kill you, I kill you good.’ Word was given out at once and
the Indians driven from the county at the place now known as Indian Ford, according to history. They were finally persuaded to seek another residence, and
crossed the creek below Greenwell’s mill, on the LaMoine River into Brown County.”
I want to remind everyone to visit the new Schuyler Sports Room. It is developing quite
nicely but pictures of sports team are still needed. We would appreciate it if anyone has pictures to share with us.
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
The following was written by R.A. Glenn, an early pioneer of Schuyler County. The article
relates the occurrence of snake drive in Schuyler County.
“When I arrived in Schuyler, which was the year in 1831, there were but a few
settlers south of Crooked Creek, the whole territory now constituting the populous townships of Ripley and Cooperstown in Brown County, then containing only
about ten or twelve families. The attention of the settlers had been drawn to the amazing number of rattlesnakes abounding in the woods, and also to the fact
that at the commencement of winter congregated at certain localities known as ‘snake dens,’ where they passed the winter in a state of torpor.
There were a number of snake dens in the immediate neighborhood of which I am writing. One of the most famous being situated on Sec. 15, 1 N 2W near the
‘Indian Ford’ on Crooked Creek, and known as the ‘Rocky Branch Snake Den,’ and another one mile southeast of Ripley and was called
‘Logan’s Creek Snake Den.’ These dens were situated in cliffs of rock almost impregnable to human force... Those dens were originally
discovered by the settlers observing the snakes entering them in great numbers in the fall and leaving them in the spring....A partial remedy for the evil of
their vast numbers, which, it was thought, might be remedied by breaking into their dens and destroying them while in their torpid state. It was resolved to
make an attempt of this sort, and a day in the middle of winter having been agreed upon and due notice given every man and boy in the neighborhood able to
work, armed with such mining tools as the county afforded, consisting of a few mattocks, spades and crowbars, and the rest with wooden hand spades and axes to
cut more as they were needed, assembled at the ‘Rocky Den,’ and very deliberately went to work mining for snakes...After several hours of hard
labor, the mining party succeed in forcing an entry to the rocky chambers....Rattlesnakes, black snakes, and copperheads, and every variety of snakes, all
mixed together, but by far, the largest number being rattlesnakes. Something over five hundred of the creatures were dragged from their winter quarters and
destroyed, most of them rattlesnakes, and many of them as much as six feet long and as thick as a man’s leg. They were all thrown into one vast pile, and
for many years their bleaching bones sufficiently marked the spot...Another mode of destroying them adopted by settlers was to watch their dens on the first
warm days of spring when the snakes first began to revive from their torpor, and seek the enlivening rays of the sun, and kill them as they emerged from their
dens...Many hundred snakes were destroyed in this was, the boys counting it a fine sport; and after the country became more settled, many were destroyed by
hogs, who are the natural enemies of the snake.”
So it is, another story of the early times in Schuyler County. You can view and read of the
early history of Schuyler County in The Schuyler Jail Museum. Come and visit us.
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
This weekend, Schuyler County and Rushville will again celebrate Smiles Day. The first Smiles
Day was held on Sept. 17, 1919, as a celebration for the homecoming of the men who served in World War I. There were 246 veterans registered in that first
parade, 35 of whom served in the Civil War. The first Smiles Day was called a Day of Smiles and was held continuously until 1941 when it was canceled because
of World War II. It resumed in the fall of 1947. Today, in the aftermath of the terrible terrorist attack on our nation, Schuyler County and our nation is
again thinking of war. And today, Rushville is showing its loyalty to our country and God by the beautiful display of flags and signs.
On a less serious note, I found a file at the museum titled “folk-lore.” The
following are a few folk-lore sayings from that file: “Animals huddling together in the pasture is a sign of rain;” “If blackberries ripen
late and slowly, the winter will be long and cold;” “Dark-colored caterpillars in the autumn indicate a harsh winter,” “A yellow stripe
running down the central part of a caterpillars body foretells cold weather in the middle part of winter,” “If animals are covered with a thin or
light fur in autumn, it means a mild winter;” “When you hear thunder in December, you can expect a frost in May;” and “The weather for
the first three days of December determines the weather of the three winter months.”
The Schuyler Jail Museum has many interesting files in its miscellaneous drawer. The museum is
open seven days a week from 1-5p.m. Come and browse.
Wednesday, October 3, 2001
The Schuyler Jail Museum will hold its annual meeting, Oct. 22, at 4p.m. All members of the
Schulyer Jail Museum are welcomed to attend.
On Oct. 24, the Schuyler Jail Museum will be hosting a Genealogical Seminar, conducted by Ray
Gooldy, Genealogist of Ye Olde Genealogie Shoppe. Gooldy will conduct two lectures, one of Virginia research. The Ye Olde Genealogie Shoppe will be displaying
books for sale from 1-7p.m. Everyone is invited to drop by the museum at this time. There is no charge and it offers a good opportunity to gather genealogical
information. Watch this newspaper for more exact information.
I found another newspaper article relating to the early times of Rushville. This particular one
was in a 1907 issue and is titled “Seventy-Seven Years Ago-A Story of Rushville.” There seem to have been many of these accounts written to the
early Rushville papers. I find each of these articles interesting and informative, in that they not only give the history of Schuyler County, but they also
contain many Schuyler names for the genealogical researcher.
“Only a few people here now lived in Rushville in 1830-Then a small
“The Citizen has secured from Mrs. M. A. Bagby, an article entitled
‘Reminiscence.’ It is an interesting sketch of Rushville and a history of its inhabitants as far back as 1830, when the town was a mere hamlet, a
village on the wild prairie of Illinois. If the people who lived here then could return now, it is doubtful if they would recognize in this hustling, bustling
little city of today the Rushville of almost eighty years ago. The story follows: Thomas P. Parrott, well known as one of the oldest citizens, relates many
instances of the early days of Rushville. His father Josiah Parrott, came to tour town in 1830, (one year after it was laid out and platted by Jonathon D.
Manlove). Mr Parrott was so impressed with the place that, in 1831 he left Glasgow, Kentucky, and returned with his family to Rushville, moving into a small
house, on the site where Felix Jackson now lives. Mr. Parrott bought a lot, then a large pasture, and built a brick house, east of the square. It was the only
house on that street. A small portion of it still stands, opposite the home of George Trone. Benjamin Chadsey was just finishing the courthouse. Stoves and
furnaces were not heard of, the only means of heating was by making a fire in a large iron kettle that stood on the brick floor. Owen Seeley had a carpenter
and undertaker’s shop on the south side of the square, where now stands the ‘Seeley block.’ Mr. Scott, a merchant of Rushville, wished
to move Pulaski and Mr. Parrott bought his goods, moving into a house belonging to Owen Seeley, adjoining his carpenter shop. The first boat that came up the
Illinois River in 1830, brought merchandise to Mr. Parrott. Soon afterwards he built a store on the north side of the square which he occupied till his death
To be continued.
Wednesday, October 10, 2001
The following is from a 1907 newspaper article titled “Seventy-seven Years Ago-A Story of
"Joseph Campbell the son of Alexander Campbell, who lived near town, owned a tavern, a frame
house on the south side, where now stands the brick building occupied by Fred Glossop’s grocery store.
Mr. Skidmore also had a tavern, a frame two story building on the site of George Dyson’s
harness shop. J.G. McCreery built a drug store on the west side of the square, which he occupied until his death in 1885. It is now replaced by the large brick
building of Mrs. Emma Vedder.
A two story frame house (used for offices) was burned down somewhere in the
‘thirties’, on the northwest corner of the square, where now stands the commodious brick business house of the George Little Co.
Thomas Scott was a merchant on the north side and “Drake and Penny” was on the west
side. Mr. Drake was also justice of the peace. His youngest son was born in Rushville.
A few years later when Edward Bertholf moved to Rushville, in 1836, and taught school, the
little boy became his pupil, he is now ex-governor of Iowa, and a prominent politician.
Dr. Teel and Dr. Vanzandt were then physicians in Rushville, but Dr. Teel moved to Washington
City and Dr. Vanzandt to St. Louis. Major Fellows lived in the house, now owned by Miss Rebecca Scott. His daughter, Ann Fellows (now Mrs. Maro Farwell), was
the first child born in Rushville. Miss Rhoda Ranney of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, taught the only school at that time. Dr. Adam Dunlap kept the post office in
a small frame house opposite to what is now the Lambert store.
In those days, there were no side walks, the streets were full of dog-fennel and jimson weed.
Many friendly Indians came through town and traded with the citizens. Before Rushville was laid out, there was a little Indian village on the town branch.
Years afterwards, children found flints and tomahawks embedded in the soil.
One day three Indians called at Josiah Parrott’s house and remained over night, had
breakfast, and were kindly cared for. When starting the next morning, they offered to pay for their lodging, but Mr. and Mrs. Parrott would not permit it.
Bidding ‘good-bye’, they left some money on the gate post.
To be continued.....
Wednesday, October 17, 2001
Seventy-seven years ago - A story of Rushville, Part 3
“There were no churches at that early day, and traveling Methodist and Presbyterian
ministers held services in the court house and upstairs in Rev. John Scripps’ store-room. Afterwards both denominations built substantial brick churches.
Rev. John Scripps’ store was a frame building where now stands the two story brick house occupied by Mr. Lickey.
“Mr. Scripps frequently preached in town and at “Sugar Grove” and the
“Sparks” school house. He also held a Bible class upstairs for children at 3 o’clock on Sunday afternoon. They sat on wooden seats with no
backs. The good minister, after scripture reading and prayer, had the class repeat in concert the first Psalm, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in
the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners,” etc. Then followed a pleasant, but rigorous elucidation of the lesson, and those early
impressions on the young minds were remembered through life.
“The families of Samuel Hindman, J.O. Jones, John Todhunter, John B. Seeley, George
Baker, Mr. Putman, Edward Doyle, John Hodge, Thomas and Asa Goodwin, Mr. Haskell, John P. Richmond, and William L. Wilson were among the earliest settlers of
“The town held an important postion in the Military Tract and was considered (in its
prospects) equal to Chicago and Quincy. Many people from the south and the east came to seek the desired “El Dorado,” among them (from 1836 to
1839) came Willis Carson, Abraham Tolles, Wm. Lambert, Micai Warren, George H. Scripps, L.D. Erwin, James McCrosky, Benjamin Whitson, Thomas Wilson, Wm. H.
Ray, George Greer, David Jackson, Mr. Mitcheltree, James Little, Gilbert Ingraham, Renessler Wells, Joseph Montgomery, Robert Burton, Wheeler Wells, Wm. A
Hinman, William Ellis, Jonathon Randall, A.L. Noble, George W. Metz, Mr. Snyder and Alexander Brazzelton. Also Dr. R.C. Hall, Dr. Worthington, Dr. Munroe and
Br. Rogers opened up offices and cared for the sick and ailing of Rushville, and Schuyler County. All of these men were enterprising and ambitious, building up
a town which they improved and appreciated. Many of their descendants are among the leading citizens of Rushville, while others have sought homes in other
“For many long years, women had to mold their own tallow candles.... It was a great
delight to all when kerosene lamps were substituted.
"At this time Rushville is lighted by electricity in a majority of homes, while our streets are
bright as day, on darkest nights.
“What will the next century bring to our country?”
Remember the Schuyler Jail Museum’s annual meeting Oct. 22 and the Genealogical Seminar
Wednesday October 24, 2001
We regret that the genealogical seminar scheduled for Oct. 24 had to be canceled. This was due
to the untimely death of the Gooldy’s daughter. We hope that it can be rescheduled at a later date.
The monthly board meeting of the Schuyler Jail Museum was held Monday, Oct. 22. It was reported
that 107 visitors signed the register during the last month and we now have 428 members. The membership year is from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, so it is not too early to
think about renewing your membership or joining. The dues are $15 a year, which entitles you to four issues of The Schuylerite.
The Schuyler Jail Museum annual Holiday Candy Sale was also discussed. This has become quite a
popular endeavor for the museum. This year the candy will be sold by advanced orders only. Orders will be accepted through Dec. 7, 2001. Watch this newspaper
or call the Jail Musuem at 322-6975 for more information. It was also noted that the prices have not changed from last year.
Molly Sorrells gave a very informative talk of her duties as Economic Development Coordinator.
She discussed topics relating to the Corridor 67 Project, the Industrial Park and the downtown district and tourism in Schuyler County.
I would like to remind everyone that Nov. 1, the museum will resume its winter hour schedule.
The museum section will be closed until next April and the genealogical section will only be open on Saturday and Sunday, from 1-5 p.m.
Great-Granddad always said, “It will rain within three days if the horns of the moon point down.”
“A person who works on Sunday will be in the devil’s power all week.” “A sunshiny shower never lasts an hour.” “Never start
a job on Friday that cannot be finished that day or you will have bad luck.” Folk Lore File