Woodstock Township History

Woodstock is one of the fractional townships of Schuyler County, Crooked Creek cutting off a portion of the southwest corner, making the township triangular in shape. The area included within the township, however, is equal to those six miles square, for there are frictional additions on the south and west.

The land surface of Woodstock Township is well drained by numerous streams that flow into Crooked Creek, and in consequence the greater portion of the township is rolling, although there is a large area of small prairies lying between. The soil is rich and productive, and suited alike for the cultivation of corn and wheat. The resources of the township are wholly agricultural. Coal is found in small quantity, but veins are not sufficiently large to mine profitably. There are no towns or postoffices in the township.

George and Isaac Naught were the first settlers in Woodstock Township, locating there the year following the first invasion of Schuyler County by homeseekers. They came from Whiteside County in 1824, first settling on Section 36. Soon afterwards George Naught removed to Bainbridge Township, where be made his permanent home. Isaac Naught continued to make his home in the township and reared a family of eleven children, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren are today residents of the township. In 1825 John Starr and son, Hasting Starr, and Thomas Eggleston joined the Naught settlement, locating on adjoining sections.

William Black was the pioneer settler in central Woodstock, moving there from what is now the city of Rushville in 1826. Mr. Black came to Schuyler in November, 1825, and purchased the claim of Willis O'Neal on the southwest quarter of Section 30, Rushville Township. The following spring the committee chosen to locate a county-seat selected this quarter, and Mr. Black was entered out, thereby losing the $200 he had paid O'Neal. When thus compelled to seek a new home he moved into Woodstock Township, locating on the southwest quarter of Section 15. The Indians were then in possession of the country, but a few years after Mr. Black had erected his cabin here a road from Rushville to Quincy was laid out, and his little cabin was the frequent stopping place of travelers, and the locality was known for years as the Black settlement. Mr. Black reared a large family and his descendants continue to make their home in Woodstock.

In 1827 Isaac Sanders located on Section 15 and made an improvement, where he resided until his death some years afterwards. He was accompanied to the county by Jacob Fowler, who drove a flock of geese all the way from Indiana. Those were probably the first domestic geese in the county. James Edmonston was another settler of 1827, and he took a prominent part in county affairs in the early days. Other settlers of that year were Moses Pettigrew, Benjamin Golston and John Logsdon and his brothers, Vaughn, Amos, Redman and Jackson Logsdon.

In 1829 Mrs. Amelia Riley, with a family of six sons, Daniel, Caleb, Anderson, Martin, Isaac Shelby and Pressley, and a married daughter, the wife of Mordecai Fowler, drove from Indiana and settled on Section 7, Woodstock 'I'ownship.

Allen Alexander and family took up their home on  Section 28 in 1829, and for a time he operated a ferry across Crooked Creek near where the wagon bridge now stands.

Timothy Harris came from the neighborhood of Springfield in 1830, and settled on the northwest quarter of Section 15, and lived in the township until his death many years afterwards. Prominent among the other early settlers were: John Howell, James Beard, Pierre J. Jonte, Peter Hermetet, James F. Grosclaude, and Alexander Stutsman. John Brown, who represented Schuyler County in the Legislature when the State capital was at Vandalia, serving at different periods in both House and Senate, first became a resident of Rushville in 1831, and eight years afterwards removed to Woodstock Township, locating on Section 16, where he lived until his death in 1858.

The first marriage in the township was that of John H. Starr and Miss Nancy E. Black.

The first school taught in the township was in a cabin on Section 36 and John Taylor was teacher.

The first church was built by the Baptists on the northeast quarter of Section 2, Range 1 South, in 1831. Rev. John Logan was the first preacher. Rev. John Ray, Rev. Wm. Crow, Rev. John Taylor and Rev. Granville Bond were among the earliest preachers.

As early as 1829 a mill-seat was granted John Ritchey on Crooked Creek, where Ripley is now located, and on June 6, 1831, Walter D. Scott and Osborn Henley were granted permission to build a dam across Crooked Creek on the northeast quarter of Section 11, One North, Three West. Both these early mills were in what afterwards became Brown County, and it was not until 1837 that a mill was erected in Woodstock Township. This mill was erected by Robert Burton on the southeast quarter of Section 28, and was a combination grist and saw-mill.

Population in 1900, according to United States census report, 1,076.

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 pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.

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