HickoryTownship History

This division ofthe county is said to have been named in honor of old “Hickory,” Jackson,from the fact that at one time there was but one Whig vote cast in thetownship, it being, with that exception, a solid Democratic precinct. Itis situated in the extreme eastern part of the county, bounded on the northby Fulton county, east and south by the Illinois River, and west by Browningtownship. It is a fractional part of congressional township 2 north, range2 east of the fourth principal meridian, that lies north and west of theIllinois river. It is about equally divided between uplands and bottom.The surface was originally covered with a heavy growth of timber, consistingof the different varieties that usually grow in this portion of the State.The soil on the uplands is rich, and produces large crops of wheat, corn,oats, grass, etc. The Illinois bottom soil ranks among the most fertilelands of the country, and like the celebrated American Bottom, they areknown far and wide. In favorable seasons, when they are not overflowed,they produce enormous crops of corn and hay. Alum creek is the principalwater course in the township. It enters in the northeast corner of section5, and passing in a southeasternly course through the township, emptiesits waters into the Illinois, on section 15, at Sharp’s Landing. Thereare several lakes in the vicinity of the river, the largest of which isLong lake, in the southeastern portion. It is about two and a half mileslong, and its greatest width about half a mile. There are also severalsmall streams that empty into it, and at low water mark it is entirelyseparated from the river.

Military Patents

The first military patentslocated in this township were as follows:
Jan. 1, 1818 – EbenezerRobbins – S.E. quarter of section 3.
Jan. 30, 1818 – Joseph Land- S.E. quarter of section 4.
Feb. 4, 1818 – Adam Brewner- N.E. quarter of section 6
Feb. 18, 1818 – Samuel Hand- S.W. quarter of section 6.
Mar. 20, 1818 – John Wright- S.W. quarter of section 3.
Mar. 20, 1818 – WilliamL. Stuart – S.W. quarter of section 2.
There were but few of thosewho located these claims in this county that ever settled them, and ofthe above named we do not recognize any who were ever citizens of Hickory.

Early Settlers

The first persons to settlein Hickory township were Jonathan Viles, Nicholson Viles, his uncle, WilliamStevenson, a son-in-law of Nicholson Viles, and Amos Richardson. In thespring of 1826 this party of pioneers crossed the Illinois river at Beard’sferry, and taking up an old Indian trail, followed it along the bluffsuntil reaching a point where Butlersville now stands, where they halted,and for a time camped together. They all settled along the bluffs and raiseda few crops, and all but Amos Richardson, moved out of the township. Heremained here, and about 1830 was shot and killed by Burrell Basset, whowas then a resident or squatter. This affair is said to have occurred fromtrading wives. The next settler was Abraham Carlock, who arrived in 1827.He was a migratory individual, and moved about from place to place in thetownship for several years. It is related that he was a very old man whenhe came, and had a large family of grown children. He was minus his lefthand, it having been burned off. He died here nearly forty years ago, andbut little of him is known. Jacob Guinn was another early settler. He firstlocated in section 8, cleared and improved a small farm and sold out. Itseemed to be his mission to grub and clear the land, for he made severalgood farms in this way, but so soon as they were improved, he would sellthem and begin another. He was a good hunter and trapper, and in thosedays game of all kinds was so numerous as to be a nuisance. He died inthe township, and left quite a large family, none of whom are now livingin the county. William Moss, noted as a great bee culturist, was a settlerin Hickory as early as 1830, and located on section 10. He died here manyyears ago. Burrell Basset, above mentioned arrived about the same time.His crime was compromised by his enlisting in the Black Hawk war in 1831,after which we lose sight of him. Stephen Y. Jolly, who settled the landon which Butlersville now stands, came in 1830, and died here over thirtyyears ago. William K. Jones, a native of Kentucky, came here as a singleman in the fall of 1834 and settled on section 7, where he has ever sincecontinued to reside. He was twice married and has reared a family of eightchildren, all of whom are living but one. In the fall of 1836, WilliamH. Gregory came with his family and settled on the bluffs of Butlersville.He is still loving in his eighty-ninth year, hale and hearty. He had alarge family, five of whom are now living, two in Schuyler county–Thomasand John H. Gregory both residing in Hickory. William Sackman, with hisfamily, was another prominent arrival in 1836. He was a native of Pennsylvania,and came from that state to Indiana, at an early day, and to Illinois in1828, settling in Morgan county in 1836. From there he came to this countyand located on section 4, where he continued to reside until 1866, whenhe moved to the state of Missouri, and died there. He reared a family oftwelve children, being equally divided in sexes–six sons and six daughters–andof the number, three are prominent farmers in this township, John W., LeonardO., and Geo. W. Sackman. When Mr. Sackman came here, there were then livingin the township Thomas Wilson, Philip Ruby, Mosier Alley, Lyman Tracey,Enoch Steward, Abraham Carlock, and his son Jacob Carlock, Levi Mondon,William Moss, William Brown, Martin Crafton, S. Y. Jolly, William Powell,James Steward, William K. Jones, David Venters, Margaret Thompson, WilliamGregory, Levi Sparks, Jacob Guinn, Reason Prater, and Durias Prater. Theirfamilies constituted bout all the inhabitants in Hickory at that date,but from thenceforward the settlements began to fill up quite rapidly,with immigrants from all parts of the country.

Abraham Louderback, who wasborn in Rockingham county, Virginia, in 1786, soon arrived here with afamily. He came to Schuyler county in 1829, but lived for several yearson a farm near Rushville, before becoming a citizen of Hickory. He becameone of her most enterprising men, and was much esteemed by all who knewhim, Mr. Louderback died at his home in July, 1871. He had a family ofeight children, and some of his descendants are still residing in the township.

About 1837, Jacob Sharp locatedon the river near the mouth of Alum creek, where he established a steamboatlanding. The place was known as Sharp’s Landing. He erected a large warehouse,and kept a store, consisting of a large stock of general merchandise. Healso engaged in all kinds of river traffic at this point, for over thirtyyears, and acquired a fortune. He subsequently moved to Astoria where hepurchased 700 acres of land, which has advanced in price to a large sumof money. He died a few yars ago, and his heirs own the land.

Daniel Sheldon was one ofthe prominent settlers of the year 1838. He was born in Rhode Island, February24th, 1802. He purchased an improved place of Jacob Guinn, on section eight,and added to it eighty acres, which he entered. Mr. Sheldon was an earlyschool-teacher, and taught the first school on the bluff, at Butlersville,in the winter of 1838. The building was a log-house, built for that purposeby the neighbors, and Mr. Sheldon was the teacher for several years. Hewas a justice of the peace for several years, also town clerk, supervisor,and postmaster of Sheldon’s Grove from the time it was established untilhis death, August 5th, 1869.  The post-office, Sheldon’s Grove, wasnamed after him. His wife’s maiden name was Aurelia Sharp, sister of JacobSharp. They reared three children, viz., Byron, who died December 14th,1873; Sovina, the wife of J. H. Gregory, residing in the township; andDaniel D., a resident of London, England.

Thus have we mentioned mostof the early and prominent families that settled in the township. We havenot sketched them all, and if it were possible, it would not be interestingto do so. Below we mention a few other early settlers,–Joseph Workman,L. R. Litchfield, Wakeman Thompson, John W. Curless, Daniel Louderback,Daniel Shaw, Jacob Fisher Sr., Alfonso Morrell, Thomas Mondon, James S.Turner, Tippits, Ezekiel Gobbel, the Butlers, Parkers, McIntires, Lewises,Joseph Kelly, Thomas Ray, Samuel Burrell, Rutherford Lane, and WilliamWisdom.


The earliest mill in thetownship was built on Alum creek, a little north of Butlersville, in 1839,by James S. Turner. It was a saw-mill, run by water power.


The first school was taughton section three, in a small log-cabin, by De Witt Allen, in 1834.

Board of Supervisors

The following gentlemen haveserved on the board of supervisors from this township. The county adoptedtownship organization in 1854.
1854 – Amos Hart
1856 – Daniel Sheldon
1859 – Lewis Price
1862 – William Robertson
1864 – Robert Darling
1866 – Wakeman Thompson
1868 – Samuel Burrell
1872 – John W. Curless
1874 – Valentine Fisher
1877 – John W. Curless
1879 – Addison D. Stambaugh
1881 – C. C. Schultz

From the census of 1880,this township has fifty-three farms, and a population of 580 souls.

Excerpted from The CombinedHistory of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882
Transcribed by Robin Petersenfor Schuyler County ILGenWeb.

Copyright 1999, 2000 RobinL. W. Petersen; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercialuse of the information contained in these
pages is strictly prohibitedwithout prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with theinformation.

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