Huntsville Township History

Huntsville is one of the townships located on the extreme southwestern corner of Schuyler County, being bounded on the west by Adams County and on the south by Brown County. It is drained by Cedar Creek in the north and Little Missouri in the south, both tributaries of Crooked Creek. In an early day the country was heavily timbered, but where once were towering forests there are now rich, cultivated fields and handsome farm residences.

Huntsville enjoys the unique distinction of being the only township in the county settled by a pioneer who came from the West. In all the other townships, the pioneers crossed the Illinois River and either went direct to their destination or tarried a while in the Rushville settlement. But the first homeseeker in Huntsville Township came from the West. This honor belongs to William Spangler, a native of Pennsylvania, who had afterwards lived in Kentucky and Indiana. He had reached manhood and had a wife and family when he decided to push on further west. Taking passage on a boat he went down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi, landing at Quincy in the summer of 1832. He brought with him a team and wagon, and loading his household goods, drove east through Adams County to the northeast quarter of Section 5, Huntsville Township, where he built his cabin and cleared a tract for cultivation, afterwards securing title by pre-emption. Mr. Spangler resided on his homestead farm until 1851, when be removed to Hancock County.

Before Mr. Spangler and his family were settled in their new home, Willis G. Moffett came overland from Kentucky and settled with his family on the southwest quarter of Section 4, and in the fall of that year John Thornhill and Jamison Wilson settled on the north half of Section 22. Jesse Burke, a Virginian, was one of the first to settle in the south part of the township, and in 1832, he built his cabin on the northeast quarter of Section 30.

In 1833 the settlement was further increased by the arrival of Reuben Allphin, from Kentucky, who settled upon the southeast quarter of Section 10; Robert Clayton built a cabin on the northwest quarter of Section 13, but never acquired title; David Tyree and Hamilton Anderson, with their families, located on the southeast quarter of Section 11, and Samuel Warren, Stephen Mendenhall, Alfred Jamison and Stephen Perkins were others who came during that year.

Rev. William Crain, Methodist minister, and Abraham Newfield came from Missouri in December, 1834, and entered land on the northeast quarter of Section 6, and also the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of the same section for Ezra Dorsett, who joined them the next year. Among the settlers of 1835 were: William Anderson, who located on Section 12, and William Nesbit and Samuel Smith, who located near by.  John and Thomas Allphin come that year and settled on the northwest quarter of Section 16.

The first marriage in the township occurred in 1835, when Rev. William Crain joined in wedlock a Mr. Cruikshanks and Miss Keziah Perkins.

The first birth was a child of Mr. And Mrs. William Spangler in 1832.

The first school was taught by Jeremiah Briscoe in a log cabin on the southwest quarter of Section 4 in 1835.

The first sermon in the township was preached by Rev. Milton Kimball, at the cabin of William Spangler in 1833, and Rev. Peter Borin, Rev. John P. Richmond and Rev. W. Pitner, Methodist circuit riders, also held services at an early day.

Among the early physicians were Dr. North, Dr. John P. Richmond, Dr. Samuel Clarkson, and Dr. A. J. Mead.

The first mill in the township was built by Dr. Samuel Clarkson on the south bank of Big Missouri Creek, on the southeast quarter of Section 25, in 1837.

The town of Huntsville was platted February 21, 1836, by Allen Persinger for Willis G. Moffitt, John T. Gast, William Spangler, George H. Briscoe, Samuel Warren and John L. Ewing, proprietors. The village is situated on the northwest quarter of Section 4. T. A. Burton erected the first dwelling house in 1835, and Willis G. Moffitt was the first store-keeper and postmaster. John L. Ewing was the first Justice of the Peace. The first church built in the township was erected by the Presbyterians in the village in 1841.

Population of the township in 1900, 976.

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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