HuntsvilleTownship History

That division ofSchuyler known as Huntsville is situated in the extreme southwestern portionof the county, and is bounded on the north by Birmingham, on the east byCamden, on the south by Brown county, and on the west by Adams county.Entering the township at its western boundary, near the southernpart ofsection seven, is Cedar creek, flowing across the entire northern portion,in an easterly and northeasterly direction, then turning southeast it passesinto Camden township at the southeastern corner of section twelve, receivingtributaries from the north and south. Along its channel are found bedsof coal, fine building stone, and valuable timber, furnishing an abundantsupply of water, and affording necessary drainage for the adjacent higherlands. In the southwestern portion of the township three large tributariesof Big Missouri creek drain that section, while from the south the BigMissouri enters the township in section thirty-three, and winds its coursethrough the southeastern corner, and leaves the township at section twenty-five,affording equal water-supplies, coal, and timber for that part of the territory.Along the water-courses the surface is broken, and was formerly coveredwith dense forests, which have long since yielded to the stroke of thewoodsman’s axe, and have been converted into fertile farms. In the centralportion we see mound after mound, with gentle slopes, in all directions.Upon many of these dome-like hills, handsome residences and commodiousbarns may be seen. On the hillsides, fields of golden grain, or the growingcorn; herds of horses and cattle, and flocks of sheep are browsing uponthe rich meadows, or resting beneath the shade of the remaining monarchsof the once predominant forest. In the northeastern portion of the townshipare many highly-improved farms. Nearly the whole township is susceptibleof cultivation, and much attention is given to grazing, and the abundantyield of corn is sent from the township in the shape of fat cattle, hogs,sheep, and horses. The township comprises all of Congressional townshiptwo north, range four west, of the fourth principal meridian, and containsthirty-six full sections.

Military Patents

The following were the firstpatents to lands in this township, issued to soldiers of the war of 1812:
Amos Pitcher, October 6th,1817, N. E. quarter of section thirteen
Charles Shepherd, October17th, 1817, S. E. quarter of section one
George W. Dunton, October21st, 1817, N. E. quarter of section nine
Joseph Jackaway, October21st, 1817, S. E. quarter of section nine
Joshua Clark, November 1st,1817, N. W. quarter of section thirteen
Benjamin Scriver, December5th, 1817, N. E. quarter of section ten

Early Settlers

To William Spangler, a nativePennsylvania, who was taken to Kentucky by his parents, from whence hewent to Indiana and married, belongs the honor of being the first settlerof the wilderness in what is now one of the best improved sections of thecounty. In the summer of 1832, he concluded to leave his home and seekan abode in the new country of Illinois. With his wife and children, Purlina,Margaret, and Mary, he took passage on the boat, and landed at Quincy,and from there, with his span of horses and wagon, which he had broughtalong, turned towards the east, arriving in the northern part of the township;took out a pre-emption right, built his humble log-cabin, and settled onthe northeast quarter of section five, which he subsequently entered,–hisnearest neighbor being six miles distant. Here he continued to reside until1851, when he moved to Hancock county, where he died at a ripe old age.

Immediately following WilliamSpangler, came Willis G. Moffett, of Kentucky, who arrived by wagon, bringinghis wife and family of children, and on the southwest quarter of sectionfour built his cabin and entered the land, in 1832. We might add, thatsome claim Mr. Moffit as the first settler, though the weight of the authorityseems to accord to Mr. Spangler that honor.

John Thornhill, of Kentucky,born in 1786, a relative of the Browns, of Camden, arrived in the countyin the fall of 1834, and with his wife and a large family, William, Ellen,Martha, Jackson, Cynthia Ann, Achilles, Sarah, Jane, Eliza and Lucy, ina four-horse wagon, moved into Huntsville, and settled on the northeastquarter of section twenty-two where he spent many days of his life in farmingand teaching, and where he died in 1859, at an advanced age, after tryinghis fortune in Texas. Jamison Wilson accompanied John Thornhill, his father-in-law,having only a wife, and settled on the northwest of section twenty-two,where he yet lives. Henry Moss was a squatter in the township as earlyas 1831, and made a small improvement, but soon left, being greatly annoyedby bears, which were plentiful. In 1833 there were a number of arrivals,and among the permanent settlers were Reuben Allphin, of Kentucky, whocame in the fall, and brought a wife and family, and settled upon the southeastquarter of section ten, buying the cabin and improvement of Henry Moss.He is still living in the township, at the advanced age of eighty-two years.Robert Clayton, a native of Tennessee, with a family of wife and threechildren, arrived in the spring, and squatted on the northwest quarterof section thirteen, but never acquired a title. Another Kentuckian, DavidTyree, and two grown sons, and his son-in-law, Hamilton Anderson and wife,sought homes in the township in the fall. They bought the southeast quarterof section eleven, on which was a log-cabin, some fence and ground in cultivation,the improvement having been made by a single man, Madison Clayton, a sonof Robert, who sold to David Tyree, and went to Morgan county. Tyree improvedhis farm, and died upon it. Samuel Warren, from Ohio, with a family, arrivedin 1833, coming in a wagon, and located on and entered the west half ofnorthwest quarter, the west half of southwest quarter of section four,built his cabin, improved his home, and with his wife have long since passedaway; and their children are now enjoying the fruits of their parents’toil. Stephen Mendenhall, of North Carolina, arrived from Indiana in thefall, and with his wife and little ones made a home on the southwest quarterof section eighteen. Alfred Jamison came with John Thornhill, and tookpossession of the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of sectionfourteen, which Robert Brown had entered for his mother, Mrs. Jamison.Alfred Jamison was single when he came to the county, but subsequentlymarried a daughter of John Thornhill. Stephen Perkins, of Kentucky, camefrom Indiana, brought his wife and children, two of whom were grown intothe township in 1832, and took up a pre-emption right on the southwestquarter of section six; built a double log-cabin and a smoke-house, andimproved and fenced twenty-five acres of land, where he lived until thefall of 1834, when he sold his interest and moved to Iowa. A squatter bythe name of Swope, a bachelor, had made his appearance in the townshipabout the same time as Perkins, improved the northeast quarter of sectionfive, but soon after left. Jesse Burke, of Virginia, and family, came intothe southern portion of the township in 1832, and settled on the northeastquarter of section thirty, which he improved, and subsequently entered,and where he now lives. Robert and William Brooks, brothers, both havingfamilies, squatted upon the northeast quarter of section twenty-four, in1834, and made some improvement, but soon afterward moved into Camden.On the sixth day of December, 1834, there arrived a pioneer, Rev. WilliamCrain, a Methodist clergyman, who has ever since been one of the sterlingcitizens, not only of this township, but of the county. He and his wifeare still living upon the original purchase. In August, 1834, Mr. Crain,accompanied by his wife’s uncle and foster-father, Abraham Newfield, cameinto the State from Missouri, and entered sixty acres in the northwestquarter of section six, for himself, and the southeast quarter of the northwestquarter of section six, for Ezra Dorsett.  After bargaining for theimprovement of Stephen Perkins, they returned to Missouri, gathered togethertheir effects, and with two span of horses, two yoke of oxen, and an oldfashioned carryall, started for their new home, and arrived in RushvilleDecember 6th, 1834.  Here they spent the winter, completed the purchasefrom Perkins, and in February, 1835, took possession of their homes. Rev.William Crain was born in Culpepper county, Virginia, in 1802. He lefthis native State of Kentucky; from Kentucky he went to Indiana, and thenceto Missouri, where he married Miss Harriet E. Tong. He brought with himthree children, James N., John F., and William H. Mr. Newfield and hiswife died upon the old homestead. Jacob Houts, of Kentucky, came into thetownship from Missouri in the spring of 1834, and settled on the northwestquarter of section five. He brought with him a wife and nine children.From the wilderness he carved out a home, built his cabin, improved hisland, and in the fall of 1834 he had sixty acres of wheat, which yieldedwell, and for which he received one dollar per bushel. He subsequentlysold out and returned to Missouri.

The year 1835 brought a largeinflux of pioneers to the township. William Anderson, born in Kentucky,May 14, 1800, was taken to Ohio, where he remained until 1822, when hereturned to Kentucky, where he resided until 1831, when he returned toOhio, and was married to Miss Prudence Wallingsford. On the 1st of October, 1835, with his wife and children, Mary Jane, Cyrus, Andrew andVincent, in an old–fashioned wagon, with a curved bed, behind four goodhorses started for his new home in Illinois. He crossed the river at Beard’sferry, and on Oct. 16, 1835, arrived in Huntsville. He entered the S. W.¼ of  S. E. 1/4 of section 12, and bought the claim and improvementsupon the N. W. ¼ of section 13 from Robert Clayton. Mr. Andersonand wife are yet living on the old homestead. William Nesbit, an uncleof William Anderson, came from Ohio with him. Mr. Anderson brought hisgoods and family in his wagon. William Nesbit settled on the N. E. ¼of the N. W. ¼ of section 12. He was a cooper by trade. Samuel Smith,a cousin of William Anderson, also came at the same time in his own wagon,bringing a wife and two children. He bought the improvement right of HamiltonAnderson, who had been living upon the E. ½ of the N. E. ¼of section 11 since the fall of 1833, and subsequently entered the land.Hamilton Anderson went to Ohio, after selling his interests to Smith. Col.Geo. H. Briscoe and family also came to the township in an ox wagon fromKentucky in 1835, and bought out the interest of an early settler by thename of Levin Tadlock in an eighty acre tract of N. W. ¼ of section3. About the same time John L. Ewing, a brother-in-law of Col. Briscoe,with his family settled on the N. E. ¼ of section 3. Ezra Dorsettof N. C. and family of a wife and ten children arrived in 1835, and tookpossession of the land which had been previously entered for him by Rev.William Crain. John Allphin came from Kentucky, stopping in Indiana a shorttime, and with his wife and children, and brother Thomas, arrived in Huntsvilletownship and built himself a cabin on the N. W. ¼ of section 16,in 1835. Dr. Samuel Clarkson, of Kentucky, though not a resident of thetownship until 1836, is deserving of mention as one of the early settlers.He came from near Mt. Sterling in the adjoining county, where he had beenliving many years.  He brought a large family with him, and enteredmany tracts of land, made numerous public improvements, borrowing moneyto carry on his different enterprises, and being deeply involved when thegold excitement began in California, left his home for that section, withthe hope of retrieving his fortune, and on his return home died at sea,and was buried in the Pacific.

The first marriage in thetownship was performed by Rev. William Crain, in the summer of 1835, andthe parties were a Mr. Cruikshanks and Keziah Perkins. The first birthwas that of a child of William Spangler, in 1832. The first person whodied in the township was John Perkins, a young man. He died at the houseof his father, Stephen Perkins, on S. W. quarter of section 6, and he wasburied in Camden. The first graveyard was laid out in 1834, on the S. E.quarter of section 4, and the first interment was that of a little childof a family of strangers, who sought shelter at Willis G. Moffitt’s inthe summer of that year. The first school-house was a small log cabin onthe S. W. quarter of section 4, and was built in the summer of 1835. Thefirst school was taught by Jeremiah Briscoe. The first sermon preachedin the township was that delivered by Rev. Milton  Kimball, at thehouse of William Spangler, in 1833, though the Methodist circuit riders,Revs. W. Pitner, John P. Richmond, and Peter Borin, preached at the houseof Jacob Houts at an early day. Rev. William Crain may also be classedwith the pioneer ministers of the M. E. Church. Among the early physicianswho practiced in the township may be mentioned Dr. North, the earliest;Dr. John P. Richmond, Dr. Samuel Clarkson, and Dr. A. J. Meade. John L.Ewing was the first justice of the peace; and a man named McDaniels wasthe first blacksmith. The first mill in the township was built by Dr. SamuelClarkson, on the S. E. quarter of section 25, upon the south bank of BigMissouri Creek, in the spring of 1837. It was a frame building, undershotwheel, with one run of stones. After running several years, it was abandoned,owing to the insufficiency of the water supply, and it has since rotteddown, and washed away. About the same time Willis G. Moffitt built a sawmill with undershot wheel on Cedar creek, just south of the village ofHuntsville, and, shortly afterwards, added a run of burrs for grindingcorn. At the present time there is not a mill in the township. The firstbridge in the township was the one over Cedar creek, south of the village.The roads and bridges of the township at the present day are in good condition.The township is supplied with excellent school facilities, there beingnine school buildings, all comfortably furnished and occupied by schoolssix months annually. An abundance of coal of a superior quality is foundon the N. W. quarter of section 8, along Cedar creek, the vein being twoand a-half feet thick, and easily obtained by stripping the dirt from thetop. This mine is operated by W. L. Carter. The same vein is found on theS. E. quarter of section 5, and in fact on both sides of Cedar creek throughoutits course in the township. A quarry of valuable sand-stone is locatedon the N. E. quarter of section 7. The stone is very hard, admits of highdegree of polish, and is extensively used for monumental work and buildingpurposes.

Board of Supervisors

The following are the supervisorswho have represented the township in the county board since township organization.
William T.  Clark -1854 and died during his term of office; and
P. E. Veatch was appointedin March, 1855, to serve balance of term
Thomas J. Poe – 1856
James Baxter – 1859
William S. Nelson – 1861
Henry Cady – 1864
Samuel S. Benson – 1866
John W. Scott – 1868
Zebulon Allphin – 1870
A. J. Aanderson – 1872
William H. H. Rader – 1873
Nathaniel Milby – 1879
Nicholas Burmood – 1881
Zebulon Allphin – 1882 topresent

The census of 1880 shows172 farms in the township, and places the population at 1193.

Excerpted from The CombinedHistory of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882
Transcribed by Carol LongwellMiller for Schuyler County ILGenWeb

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