Hickory Township History

This division of the county is said to have been named in honor of old "Hickory," Jackson, from the fact that at one time there was but one Whig vote cast in the township, it being, with that exception, a solid Democratic precinct. It is situated in the extreme eastern part of the county, bounded on the north by Fulton county, east and south by the Illinois River, and west by Browning township. It is a fractional part of congressional township 2 north, range 2 east of the fourth principal meridian, that lies north and west of the Illinois river. It is about equally divided between uplands and bottom. The surface was originally covered with a heavy growth of timber, consisting of the different varieties that usually grow in this portion of the State. The soil on the uplands is rich, and produces large crops of wheat, corn, oats, grass, etc. The Illinois bottom soil ranks among the most fertile lands of the country, and like the celebrated American Bottom, they are known far and wide. In favorable seasons, when they are not overflowed, they produce enormous crops of corn and hay. Alum creek is the principal water course in the township. It enters in the northeast corner of section 5, and passing in a southeasternly course through the township, empties its waters into the Illinois, on section 15, at Sharp's Landing. There are several lakes in the vicinity of the river, the largest of which is Long lake, in the southeastern portion. It is about two and a half miles long, and its greatest width about half a mile. There are also several small streams that empty into it, and at low water mark it is entirely separated from the river.

Military Patents

The first military patents located in this township were as follows:
Jan. 1, 1818 - Ebenezer Robbins - S.E. quarter of section 3.
Jan. 30, 1818 - Joseph Land - S.E. quarter of section 4.
Feb. 4, 1818 - Adam Brewner - N.E. quarter of section 6
Feb. 18, 1818 - Samuel Hand - S.W. quarter of section 6.
Mar. 20, 1818 - John Wright - S.W. quarter of section 3.
Mar. 20, 1818 - William L. Stuart - S.W. quarter of section 2.
There were but few of those who located these claims in this county that ever settled them, and of the above named we do not recognize any who were ever citizens of Hickory.

Early Settlers

The first persons to settle in Hickory township were Jonathan Viles, Nicholson Viles, his uncle, William Stevenson, a son-in-law of Nicholson Viles, and Amos Richardson. In the spring of 1826 this party of pioneers crossed the Illinois river at Beard's ferry, and taking up an old Indian trail, followed it along the bluffs until reaching a point where Butlersville now stands, where they halted, and for a time camped together. They all settled along the bluffs and raised a few crops, and all but Amos Richardson, moved out of the township. He remained here, and about 1830 was shot and killed by Burrell Basset, who was then a resident or squatter. This affair is said to have occurred from trading wives. The next settler was Abraham Carlock, who arrived in 1827. He was a migratory individual, and moved about from place to place in the township for several years. It is related that he was a very old man when he came, and had a large family of grown children. He was minus his left hand, it having been burned off. He died here nearly forty years ago, and but little of him is known. Jacob Guinn was another early settler. He first located in section 8, cleared and improved a small farm and sold out. It seemed to be his mission to grub and clear the land, for he made several good farms in this way, but so soon as they were improved, he would sell them and begin another. He was a good hunter and trapper, and in those days game of all kinds was so numerous as to be a nuisance. He died in the township, and left quite a large family, none of whom are now living in the county. William Moss, noted as a great bee culturist, was a settler in Hickory as early as 1830, and located on section 10. He died here many years ago. Burrell Basset, above mentioned arrived about the same time. His crime was compromised by his enlisting in the Black Hawk war in 1831, after which we lose sight of him. Stephen Y. Jolly, who settled the land on which Butlersville now stands, came in 1830, and died here over thirty years ago. William K. Jones, a native of Kentucky, came here as a single man in the fall of 1834 and settled on section 7, where he has ever since continued to reside. He was twice married and has reared a family of eight children, all of whom are living but one. In the fall of 1836, William H. Gregory came with his family and settled on the bluffs of Butlersville. He is still loving in his eighty-ninth year, hale and hearty. He had a large family, five of whom are now living, two in Schuyler county--Thomas and John H. Gregory both residing in Hickory. William Sackman, with his family, was another prominent arrival in 1836. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and came from that state to Indiana, at an early day, and to Illinois in 1828, settling in Morgan county in 1836. From there he came to this county and located on section 4, where he continued to reside until 1866, when he moved to the state of Missouri, and died there. He reared a family of twelve children, being equally divided in sexes--six sons and six daughters--and of the number, three are prominent farmers in this township, John W., Leonard O., and Geo. W. Sackman. When Mr. Sackman came here, there were then living in the township Thomas Wilson, Philip Ruby, Mosier Alley, Lyman Tracey, Enoch Steward, Abraham Carlock, and his son Jacob Carlock, Levi Mondon, William Moss, William Brown, Martin Crafton, S. Y. Jolly, William Powell, James Steward, William K. Jones, David Venters, Margaret Thompson, William Gregory, Levi Sparks, Jacob Guinn, Reason Prater, and Durias Prater. Their families constituted bout all the inhabitants in Hickory at that date, but from thenceforward the settlements began to fill up quite rapidly, with immigrants from all parts of the country.

Abraham Louderback, who was born in Rockingham county, Virginia, in 1786, soon arrived here with a family. He came to Schuyler county in 1829, but lived for several years on a farm near Rushville, before becoming a citizen of Hickory. He became one of her most enterprising men, and was much esteemed by all who knew him, Mr. Louderback died at his home in July, 1871. He had a family of eight children, and some of his descendants are still residing in the township.

About 1837, Jacob Sharp located on the river near the mouth of Alum creek, where he established a steamboat landing. The place was known as Sharp's Landing. He erected a large warehouse, and kept a store, consisting of a large stock of general merchandise. He also engaged in all kinds of river traffic at this point, for over thirty years, and acquired a fortune. He subsequently moved to Astoria where he purchased 700 acres of land, which has advanced in price to a large sum of money. He died a few yars ago, and his heirs own the land.

Daniel Sheldon was one of the prominent settlers of the year 1838. He was born in Rhode Island, February 24th, 1802. He purchased an improved place of Jacob Guinn, on section eight, and added to it eighty acres, which he entered. Mr. Sheldon was an early school-teacher, and taught the first school on the bluff, at Butlersville, in the winter of 1838. The building was a log-house, built for that purpose by the neighbors, and Mr. Sheldon was the teacher for several years. He was a justice of the peace for several years, also town clerk, supervisor, and postmaster of Sheldon's Grove from the time it was established until his death, August 5th, 1869.  The post-office, Sheldon's Grove, was named after him. His wife's maiden name was Aurelia Sharp, sister of Jacob Sharp. They reared three children, viz., Byron, who died December 14th, 1873; Sovina, the wife of J. H. Gregory, residing in the township; and Daniel D., a resident of London, England.

Thus have we mentioned most of the early and prominent families that settled in the township. We have not sketched them all, and if it were possible, it would not be interesting to do so. Below we mention a few other early settlers,--Joseph Workman, L. R. Litchfield, Wakeman Thompson, John W. Curless, Daniel Louderback, Daniel Shaw, Jacob Fisher Sr., Alfonso Morrell, Thomas Mondon, James S. Turner, Tippits, Ezekiel Gobbel, the Butlers, Parkers, McIntires, Lewises, Joseph Kelly, Thomas Ray, Samuel Burrell, Rutherford Lane, and William Wisdom.


The earliest mill in the township was built on Alum creek, a little north of Butlersville, in 1839, by James S. Turner. It was a saw-mill, run by water power.


The first school was taught on section three, in a small log-cabin, by De Witt Allen, in 1834.

Board of Supervisors

The following gentlemen have served on the board of supervisors from this township. The county adopted township organization in 1854.
1854 - Amos Hart
1856 - Daniel Sheldon
1859 - Lewis Price
1862 - William Robertson
1864 - Robert Darling
1866 - Wakeman Thompson
1868 - Samuel Burrell
1872 - John W. Curless
1874 - Valentine Fisher
1877 - John W. Curless
1879 - Addison D. Stambaugh
1881 - C. C. Schultz

From the census of 1880, this township has fifty-three farms, and a population of 580 souls.

Excerpted from The Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882
Transcribed by Robin 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
pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.

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