Old Times In Schuyler 

First Record of Exploration
By Howard F. Dyson, 1918

The first authentic record of white men in Schuyler county is furnished thru the government survey, which was begun in 1815 and completed two years later. And even then the only record is the work that was accomplished and the names of the hardy pioneer surveyors who braved the danger of the trackless wilds to lay out land boundaries in this portion of the Military Tract.

From the record of the original government surveys we find that the first townhip surveys in Schuyler county were begun in 1815, and the work continued for two years. J. Milton Moore and Enoch Moore, afterwards prominent citizens of Monroe county, had a large contract for surveys, as did also John D. Whitesides, afterwards a general in the Black Hawk war and state treasurer.

At this time all the country north of the Illinois river was in possession of the Indians, and the surveyors labored under many hardships. Most of the work was done during the winter months when the streams and swampy prairie land were frozen, and at that season there was less danger from roving Indians, who looked with suspicion upon the invasion of their hunting grounds by the white man. Of the early surveyors, John McKee is the only one who lost his life in the service. He was killed by Indians in what is now Brown county in 1815, and McKee creek was named by his associates in his honor.

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Copyright © by Judi Gilker 2006