BuenaVista Township History

Buena Vista Townshipis located near the geographical center of Schuyler County, and is theonly one of the thirteen townships in the county that does not, at somepoint, touch the outside boundary of the county. Like all the other townships,Buena Vista has wide spreading prairies and embraces a part of the brokentimber country which lies along the many small streams that flow southwardinto Crooked Creek. Along these streams there is found a good quality ofbuilding stone that was extensively quarried at an early day. A good veinof coal also underlies a portion of the township.

Levin Green, the pioneerMethodist preacher whose history has been given in another chapter of thiswork, was the first settler in Buena Vista Township. He came to SchuylerCounty in November, 1823, from Missouri accompanied by his family and brother-in-law,George Stewart, and his family. They spent the winter in the Hobart settlementand early in the following spring took up their abode in Buena Vista. Theywere joined soon afterwards by Henry Green, Jr., and his family, who haddriven overland from Texas.

Levin Green selected forhis home the southeast quarter of Section 23; Henry Green, Jr., the southeasthalf of the northeast quarter of Section 20, and George Stewart the southeastquarter of Section 13. The Greens had always lived in the South and thefirst year they spent in Schuyler they planted a crop of cotton, and theyield must have been at least partially successful, for in 1807 Henry Green,Jr., erected a rude cotton gin to handle the crop.

John Ritchey settled in BuenaVista on the southeast quarter of Section 25 in 1824, but soon sold hispre-emption right to Samuel Turner and removed to Littleton Township. InMarch, 1825, Samuel and Manlove Horney settled on Section 14, where theyresided until 1834, when they removed to Littleton.

In May, 1825, the Green settlementwas greatly increased by the arrival of Henry Green, Sr., and wife; PhilipSpohnamore and family of eight; George Green, wife and six children; JohnSpohnamore, wife and two children; John Green, wife and three children,and James Robinson, wife and three children. They all came from Missouriand, being related by marriage, took up their home in the Green settlementand their descendants are today residents of the township.

Samuel Turner, who firstcame to Schuyler in 1823, returned to St. Clair County soon after buildinghis cabin, and on his return in 1825 found it occupied. He sold his improvementand removed to Buena Vista Township and settled on the southeast quarterof Section 25. Here he cleared a piece of ground and made improvements,but in 1834 a claimant with a superior title appeared and the work of yearswas lost. He then removed to the southeast quarter of Section 11, and itis said had to buy off three different persons who claimed to have titleto the land. Mr. Turner was married on May 24, 1830, to Miss Rachel Robertson,and their son, Allen Turner, still resides on the old homestead farm.

Charles Teas settled on thenorthwest quarter of Section 23 in 1826, and resided there until 1829,when he sold his claim to Lemuel Sparks, and the old homestead is now ownedby J. B. Sparks of Rushville, who is a son of the old pioneer settler.

Alexander Ross, a nativeof Kentucky, settled in Buena Vista in the summer of 1826, with his wifeand six children, and built a cabin on the northeast quarter of Section16, where he made a permanent settlement.

Joel McKee came to SchuylerCounty in 1826 with his father-in-law, William McKee, and in the followingyear he removed to Buena Vista Township and built a cabin on the northwestquarter of Section 2. Here he resided until 1847, when he made an overlandtrip to Oregon. He returned in 1851 and again took up his abode in thetownship where he lived to a ripe old age. Mr. Tullis had the first distilleryin the township which was built in 1833. John Tullis and John Thompsonwere neighbors of Joel Tullis and built their cabins on Section 1.

Drury Sellers, a native ofKentucky, moved to Buena Vista in the spring of 1828 with his family, andsettled on the southwest quarter of Section 2, but afterward removed toLittleton.

Other early settlers were:Robert L. Dark, George Swan, William Owens, Ephraim Haines and John R.Skiles, and, in the early ‘thirties, there came a number of families whomade permanent homes in the township.

The first wedding in thetownship was that of William Hobart Taylor and Miss Elizabeth Spohnamore,which occurred November 27, 1825. Rev. Levi Green performed the ceremony.

The first death was thatof a four year old son of Henry Green, Jr., in the summer of 1827.

The first school house wasbuilt in 1828 on the northwest quarter of Section 1, and Robert Sextonwas the teacher in charge. There had been a school taught in the Greensettlement as early as 1825 by William Hobart Taylor, but the residentsfound it more convenient to send their children to the schools in RushvilleTownship.

The first mill in the townshipwas operated by Joel Tullis. It was supplied with power by the old tread-wheelwith horses for motive power. It was erected in 1831 on the northeast quarterof Section 2. Col. Clark, an Englishman, also had a horse mill in operationin 1835 on the northeast quarter of Section 17. The first steam gristmillwas built in 1857 by George C. Clark in the southeast quarter of Section14.

A portion of the city ofRushville lies within the bounds of Buena Vista Township, and this tractof land was originally owned by William McCreery. He purchased 160 acreslying west of the original town site for $350, and the owner in New Yorkwas so astonished at receiving so munificent an offer, that he feared hemight be losing some unknown treasure, and in his deed, now on record atthe court house, expressly reserves all minerals to be found on the landdeeded.

Population of the townshipin 1900, including part of the city of Rushville, 1,651, the portion comingwithin the city of Rushville being 629.

Excerpted from HistoricalEncyclopedia of Illinois and History of Schuyler County, 1908, editedby Howard F. Dyson, pp. 697-9.
Transcribed by Karl A. Petersenfor Schuyler County ILGenWeb

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