Hickory Townshiplies in the extreme northeast part of Schuyler County, and is bounded onthe north by Fulton County and on the south by the Illinois River. It containsbut fourteen full sections, and by reason of its location along the IllinoisRiver, the land surface is about equally divided between uplands and bottomlands. The narrow strip of sloping bottom land, extending the entire lengthof the township, is wonderfully rich and productive and is valued as highlyas any land in Schuyler County. The lower bottom lands are also rich andfertile, but a crop there is uncertain on account of the danger from floods.In the northern part of the township there are several large lakes lyinginland a few rods from the river, and all this country is now owned byhunting clubs on account of the splendid feeding ground it affords forwild game.
In the spring of 1826 a partyof pioneers composed of Amos Richardson, Jonathan Viles, Nicholas Vilesand his son-in-law, William Stevenson, crossed the Illinois River at Beard’sFerry and followed an Indian trail along the bluffs until they reachedthe point where Butlersville is now located. Here they built their cabinsand cleared the ground for the cultivation of crops. Richardson was theonly one of the party who remained there, and he was killed in 1830 byBurrell Basset.
Abraham Carlock moved tothe township in 1827 and lived there until his death some years afterwards.Jacob Guinn was another early settler. He first cleared a farm on Section8, which he afterwards sold and purchased another raw tract, which he transformedinto good farming land. William Moss and Stephen Y. Jolly were pioneersof 1830, and lived in the township for many years.
In 1834 William K. Jonescame from Kentucky and settled on Section 7. He was followed two yearslater by William H. Gregory, who settled on the bluff west of Butlersville.William Sackman was another pioneer of 1836 and he resided on Section 4until 1866, when he removed to Missouri. Other settlers of this periodwere: Thomas Wilson, Philip Ruby, Mosier Alley, Lyman Tracey, Enoch Steward,William Brown, Martin Crafton, William Powell, James Stewart, David Venters,Levi Sparks, Reason Prather and Darius Prather.
Abraham Louderback, who settledin Schuyler County in 1829 near Rushville, removed to Hickory Townshipin the early ‘thirties and became one of the large land owners, and hisdescendants are still residents of the township.
John Sharp was one of theprominent citizens of Hickory in the early days, and he acquired a fortunein merchandising and land speculation. He located along the Illinois Rivernear the mouth of Alum Creek in 1837, and built a large warehouse and store-roomthere. This point became known as Sharp’s landing, and it still bears thatname. He was in business there for thirty years and later removed to Astoria,Fulton County, where he purchased 700 acres of land that afterwards greatlyincreased in value.
Daniel Sheldon was anotherof the prominent early settlers of Hickory. He was a native of Rhode Islandand located in Butlersville in 1838, where he taught the first school inthe village in the winter of 1838. He was also the first postmaster ofthe village and continued in office until his death, August 5, 1869. Whenthe postoffice was established it was given the name of Sheldon’s Grove,thereby rechristening the village which, up to that time, had been knownas Butlersville. Noah Butler was the original founder of the village andit was surveyed and platted by J. M. Sweeney, November 29, 1846.
Bluff City, which is locatedon the northwest quarter of Section 1, was laid out by Abraham Louderbackand was surveyed and platted by Leonidas Horney, November 2, 1860.
The first mill in the townshipwas a saw mill, built by James S. Turner, on Alum Creek in 1839.
DeWitt Allen taught the firstschool in the township in 1834 in a cabin on Section 3.
Population, according tocensus of 1900, 586.
Excerpted from HistoricalEncyclopedia of Illinois and History of Schuyler County, 1908, editedby Howard F. Dyson.
Transcribed by Karl A. Petersenfor Schuyler County ILGenWeb
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