Hickory Township History

Hickory Township lies in the extreme northeast part of Schuyler County, and is bounded on the north by Fulton County and on the south by the Illinois River. It contains but fourteen full sections, and by reason of its location along the Illinois River, the land surface is about equally divided between uplands and bottom lands. The narrow strip of sloping bottom land, extending the entire length of the township, is wonderfully rich and productive and is valued as highly as any land in Schuyler County. The lower bottom lands are also rich and fertile, but a crop there is uncertain on account of the danger from floods. In the northern part of the township there are several large lakes lying inland a few rods from the river, and all this country is now owned by hunting clubs on account of the splendid feeding ground it affords for wild game.

In the spring of 1826 a party of pioneers composed of Amos Richardson, Jonathan Viles, Nicholas Viles and his son-in-law, William Stevenson, crossed the Illinois River at Beard's Ferry and followed an Indian trail along the bluffs until they reached the point where Butlersville is now located. Here they built their cabins and cleared the ground for the cultivation of crops. Richardson was the only one of the party who remained there, and he was killed in 1830 by Burrell Basset.

Abraham Carlock moved to the township in 1827 and lived there until his death some years afterwards. Jacob Guinn was another early settler. He first cleared a farm on Section 8, which he afterwards sold and purchased another raw tract, which he transformed into good farming land. William Moss and Stephen Y. Jolly were pioneers of 1830, and lived in the township for many years.

In 1834 William K. Jones came from Kentucky and settled on Section 7. He was followed two years later by William H. Gregory, who settled on the bluff west of Butlersville. William Sackman was another pioneer of 1836 and he resided on Section 4 until 1866, when he removed to Missouri. Other settlers of this period were: Thomas Wilson, Philip Ruby, Mosier Alley, Lyman Tracey, Enoch Steward, William Brown, Martin Crafton, William Powell, James Stewart, David Venters, Levi Sparks, Reason Prather and Darius Prather.

Abraham Louderback, who settled in Schuyler County in 1829 near Rushville, removed to Hickory Township in the early 'thirties and became one of the large land owners, and his descendants are still residents of the township.

John Sharp was one of the prominent citizens of Hickory in the early days, and he acquired a fortune in merchandising and land speculation. He located along the Illinois River near the mouth of Alum Creek in 1837, and built a large warehouse and store-room there. This point became known as Sharp's landing, and it still bears that name. He was in business there for thirty years and later removed to Astoria, Fulton County, where he purchased 700 acres of land that afterwards greatly increased in value.

Daniel Sheldon was another of the prominent early settlers of Hickory. He was a native of Rhode Island and located in Butlersville in 1838, where he taught the first school in the village in the winter of 1838. He was also the first postmaster of the village and continued in office until his death, August 5, 1869. When the postoffice was established it was given the name of Sheldon's Grove, thereby rechristening the village which, up to that time, had been known as Butlersville. Noah Butler was the original founder of the village and it was surveyed and platted by J. M. Sweeney, November 29, 1846.

Bluff City, which is located on the northwest quarter of Section 1, was laid out by Abraham Louderback and was surveyed and platted by Leonidas Horney, November 2, 1860.

The first mill in the township was a saw mill, built by James S. Turner, on Alum Creek in 1839.

DeWitt Allen taught the first school in the township in 1834 in a cabin on Section 3.

Population, according to census of 1900, 586.

Excerpted from Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Schuyler County, 1908, edited by Howard F. Dyson.
Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen for Schuyler County ILGenWeb

Copyright 1999, 2000 Robin L. W. Petersen; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these
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