RushvilleTownship History

O rescue from oblivionthe incidents of the past, and to preserve the names of the hardy few,who in fact were the real instruments of paving the way and making thewild forests habitable, is the object of the historian.  In a littletime the gray hairs of pioneers, who still live as tottering monumentsof the good old times, will be gathered to their fathers; their children,engrossed by the busy transactions of life, will neglect to treasure upthe doings and recollections of the past, and posterity will search invain for land marks and memorials thereof.  How necessary, then, thatno time should be lost in gathering together the fragments of our infanthistory which still exist, and thus rescue it from entire forgetfulness.

A little more than half acentury ago, this beautiful country was in a state of nature, and the onlyinhabitants were the uncivilized Indians, and the wild game of the forest. The white man came, and lo, the transition!  Beautiful fields of grainwave in the gentle breeze, and neat villages and farm-houses dot the landscape. The results of the labors and hardships of the pioneers are written noonly in our histories, but more unmistakably engraven upon every highwayin the land.  Let the reader stop for a moment and reflect, if hewould do justice to those who have so bravely done their part.  Donot chide them for their odd, old-fashioned ways, but keep in mind thatit is due to them that we, “Young America,” have the surrounding comfortsof today.  But a few years, when we have grown gray and feeble, andwe shall be pointed out by the busy, bustling throng of a more advancedage, as “old fogies,” and as those who have passed their days of usefulness.

Schuyler county was organizedin 1825, and the territory of Rushville was the first that echoed to thesound of the improvements of the white settler.  This was in 1823,two years prior to its organization, it then being a part of Pike county. Its situation is nearly central, and it is the capital of the county. Thetownship of Oakland bounds it on the north, and it is bounded on the eastby Browning and Frederick, on the south by Bainbridge, and west by BuenaVista.  It is a full Congressional township, and contains thirty-sixsections, being about equally divided between prairie and timber land.The west and center are mainly of the former, while the latter embracesthe rolling, and in places the broken surface peculiar to the timber belts,situated along the margins and contiguous to the various water-courses. McKee’s creek rises in section eighteen, flows northeast, and passes outin section three.  Crane creek meanders through the southwest, takingmainly a southerly direction, and finally discharges its waters into theIllinois river.  The eastern part of the township is drained by thetributaries of Sugar creek.  Corn and wheat are the principal productions,though grass, oats, etc, are cultivated with excellent success.  Abranch of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad extends through aportion of the precinct, entering in section three, and terminating atRushville.  A few more years, and the transportation facilities willundoubtedly compare favorably with other towns of the state.

First Settlements

The first settlements weremade in section 16 as early as 1823, two years prior to the organizationof the county. The honor belongs to Calvin Hobart and Orris McCartney,both making their advent about the same time, February, 1823. The formerwas a native of Grafton county, New Hampshire. Seeking a more congenialclimate, and impelled by a spirit of enterprise, coupled with a fondnessfor adventure, he turned his face westward and made his home in the wildsof Illinois.  He made the entire passage from the East in a two-horsewagon. His family then consisted of his wife, Sallie, and four children,Chancy, Norris, Elizabeth, and Truman. W. H. Taylor, a single man, alsoaccompanied Mr. Hobart. A small log house was erected on the southeastquarter of section 16, and the life of the pioneer commenced.  Mr.Hobart was an exemplary man, and had the full confidence of all who knewhim. He died at his pioneer home in 1831. His widow afterwards marriedagain, and about 1835, they all moved to the state of Minnesota. Mr. McCartneycame from New York state, and located near Mr. Hobart, on the place nowowned by Jesse Danner. He was then a single man, but put up a cabin andcommenced the improvement of this place. A young man, by the name of SamuelGooch, accompanied him here, and aided him in his work. The latter andRuth Powers were the first married couple in the settlement. This was inFebruary, 1824. Levin Green, a local methodist minister, performed themarriage ceremony. McCartney was elected the first sheriff of the county.He moved to Wisconsin about 1829. Levin Green located here in 1823 or ’24.He was here as early as the fall of 1823, and preached the first sermonwithin the entire military tract, but according to the best informationdid not permanently locate until the spring of 1824. He was born in NorthCarolina, but emigrated from the state of Missouri here. In 1829, he movedinto what is now Missouri township, Brown county. George Stuart, a brother-in-lawof Green, came at the same time, and they both lived in a cabin in section16. Stuart also moved into Missouri township, and subsequently emigratedto the state of Arkansas with his brother-in-law Green. Another settlerof 1824, was Nathan Eels. He came from the East and had quite a large family.He squatted in section 15, but remained only a few years when he movedto Beardstown, and thence to the northern part of the state. In 1825, therewas quite an accession of settlers to the little colony, among whom wasBenjamin Chadsey. He was born in Vermont, and when a mere child his parentsmoved to the state of New York. They afterwards emigrated to Ohio, andthence to Indiana. At the age of seventeen Mr. Chadsey enlisted as a soldierin the war of 1812. For his service he drew a quarter section of land insection 17, Schuyler county. After the war he stopped in Illinois, andsoon afterward married Rachel Johnson. In the fall of 1824, he came tothe county to see the land he had entered. Being pleased with the country,the following spring he moved here with his family and located on his land.The family then consisted of his wife and two children, Jerusha and HenryC. Six children have since been born to the family, Benjamin F., John L.,Calvin, George W., James, and William. At this writing they are almostan unbroken family, only one of them being dead, Benjamin F. Even the fatherand mother are yet living, and reside at the old homestead, surroundedwith all the comforts that heart could wish in their old age. Mr. Chadseyis 86 years of age and his wife is in her 81st year. The old court-housestanding in the square was built by Mr. Chadsey. He commenced the firstwork upon it in 1829. Two other prominent settlers of 1825, were SamuelHorney and Jonathan Manlove. The latter was a single man, and came withthe former’s family. Mr. Horney came from North Carolina in 1818, and firstsettled in St. Clair county, and in the spring of 1825 moved to Schuyler,and settled not far from Rushville in the edge of what is now Buena Vistatownship. He had a wife and one son, Leonidas, who was afterwards electedcounty surveyor. Mr. Horney was an active man in his time. He served inthe war of 1812, also the Black-hawk war, and was one who figured largelyin the organization of Schuyler county, and subsequently represented hisconstituency in the state legislature. He died several years ago in Littletontownship, where his widow yet resides, and who is said to be the oldestearly settler in the county. Jonathan Manlove soon after his coming, marriedSophrona Chadsey, and from their union several children were born, onlyone of whom is a resident of the county, Mrs. Harry Taylor of Brooklyn.Mr. Manlove was a representative citizen, being the first surveyor of thecounty, besides filling other offices of trust at the hands of the people.He moved to Fort Scott, Kansas, in about 1867, where he yet resides. WilliamManlove, a brother of the above, came one year later, and first engagedin teaching school. He was elected the second surveyor of the county, andwas a leading man of the times. He married here and reared quite a familyof children. His death occurred many years ago. The family afterwards movedfrom the county. Manlove Horney, a brother of Samuel above mentioned, camedirect from North Carolina and located near his brother. This was in 1826.He was at the head of a family. Several of his representatives are residentsof the county. His death occurred some years ago.

John B. Terry was an immigrantof 1825, and came from the state of New York. He located in section 16,near Hobart and McCartney. After the county was organized he moved to whatis now Rushville, and had the honor of filling the office of first countyclerk of Schuyler county. His log residence was the first house built inRushville. He moved to Wisconsin about 1828, where he afterward died. Onewho figured most prominently in the politics of the county was Hart Fellows.He was born in Cincinnati, O. His parents moved to the state of Indianain an early day, and it was here that Mr. Fellows was educated, and grewto manhood. He came to Illinois a single man, and located in Green county,where he married Miss Foss.  Early in 1825 he moved to near Rushville,and went to keeping house in a vacated cabin situated in section 27, wherehe remained until he could erect a convenient house of his own. At thistime he had but one child, William Henry. Quite a large family of childrenwere born to them while residents of the county. Their first born, WilliamH., lived but a short time, and was the first interment made in the villagecemetery. Mr. Fellows was elected the first circuit clerk, and was thefirst postmaster in the county. Indeed, in subsequent years he filled nearlyevery county office, and was one of the most popular men of the times.In 1850 he was appointed by the general government as collector of revenuesin the city of San Francisco. He died only two or three years ago. Hiswidow is now residing in Frederick, Schuyler county, with her elder daughter,Mrs. Ann Farwell. Mrs. Farwell is said to be the first child born in Rushville.James Vance and David Wallace also came as early as 1825. William McKeecame from Indiana, April 16, 1826, and located in section 18. He had alarge family, mostly daughters. Both he and his wife died here many yearsago. Several of their children are residents of the county. William, Jr.,is residing at the old homestead in section 18. Mr. Vance migrated fromthe south. He was a mere squatter, and remained but a short time when hemoved to McDonough county, and became one of its first settlers. DavidWallace was also from the south, and located in section 21. He sold hisimprovement right in a few years and moved to parts unknown. Among othersof 1825, ’26 were David and Thomas Blair, William Pennington, David andCyrus Watson, Peter Perkins, Philip Spohnamore, Ephraim Eggleston, JamesH. Smith, and others.

A prominent settler of 1829was Thomas W. Scott, a native of Maryland. His parents moved to Kentuckywhen he was a mere boy. He remained here until he was twenty years of age,when he left his Kentucky home and on horseback came through this state,and finally landed in Rushville in 1829. In December of the same year hewent to St. Louis and purchased a stock of goods. At this time Rushvillewas one among the few towns in the state. People came to this town to tradefor many miles around. Mr. S. says that some of his customers came fromAstoria, at least eighty miles north of Rushville. In 1832, Mr. Scott movedback to Kentucky, and the same year he married Adeline Johnson, from whichmarriage one son was born, Robert J., who is now in the state of Missouri.His wife died in 1836, and in 1840, Mr. S. again married. Of this uniontwelve children have been born, six sons and six daughters. After remainingin Kentucky for several years Mr. Scott came back to Rushville, where hehas resided since. He has amassed a good competency, and has retired fromhis active life. Hugh McCreery, another pioneer, was born in Ireland in1793, and came to the states in 1827, landing at Philadelphia. In the fallof 1828, he moved to Illinois and located at Rushville. His first residencewas the old log court-house. He remained here over winter, when he boughtsome land, now a part of the corporation of the village. His family thenconsisted of his wife, Sarah, and six children, William, Mathew, John,James G., Margaret and Sarah. Mr. McCreery, his wife and one son, William,all died with the cholera, which prevailed with such havoc in 1834. Williamwas then a member of the State Senate.  Only two of the family arestill living. James G. is a prominent citizen of Rushville, and Sarah,widow of John Young, resides in Buena Vista township. Samuel Jackson wasan early settler of the county. He was born in North Carolina and migratedto Indiana when a young man, where he married Esther Close. In the fallof 1828 he moved to Schuyler, and settled in section 14, Bainbridge township.He died here in 1838, or ’39. Mrs. Jackson died in 1874. But one of thefamily resides in the county, Ezra, who is the present landlord of theCity Hotel in Rushville. Other settlers of about the same date were JohnScripps and Cornelius B. Putnam. The former was quite a noted Methodistminister; his circuit extended over a large protion of the frontier. Hedied several years ago. One son, John G., resides in section 7. Those ofa later date were Hon. W. A. Richardson, Judge T. Lyle Dickey, Hon. WilliamA. Minshall, Judge Pinkney, H. Walker, Hon. Robert Blackwell, Hon. Jno.C. Bagby, Hon. William H. Ray, Hon. Louis D. Erwin, George Little, ThomasWilson, G. W. Metz, and others. Probably no town in the state of its sizecan boast of furnishing more prominent men than Rushville, as the abovearray of names will verify. They were among the early settlers, but mostof them have either died or moved away.

The cholera in July, 1834,swooped down with its pinion of death and proved a besom of destructionto many in the Rushville settlement. The town then contained seven or eighthundred inhabitants, and so virulent was the disease that most of themfled to other parts of the country. Only about three hundred were leftto take care of the sick and dying. Over a hundred were afflicted, and,nearly one half proved fatal. The first to succumb to the disease was WilliamMcCreery and Cornelius B. Putnam; they died about the same time. Afterthe scourge had passed, most of those who had left the town, returned,and business proceeded as usual. It is supposed that the disease originatedfrom a family from Maryland, who while afflicted with it came up the riverand stopped at Rushville. It was a time long to be remembered by the oldsettlers, as many of their homes were made desolate.

The first couple marriedin the settlement were Samuel Gooch and Ruth Powers, as has been alreadystated. The first marriage ceremony performed after the county was organized,made husband and wife of W. H. Taylor and Elizabeth Spohnamore, in 1825.Levin Green  was the officiating minister at the nupitals. The firstborn was a child of Ephraim Eggleston, in the summer of 1824. The firstschool was taught in the summer of 1826, by Sophrona Chadsey, in a vacatedcabin in section 16. Jonathan D. Manlove taught the same year at his owncabin on what is known as the Little place. These pedagogues afterwardsbecame husband and wife. The first school-house site was located in 1825,on section 20, now Benjamin Chadsey’s pasture. The people met and decidedto build, with the following agreement; that each head of a household shouldfurnish two logs, and aid in raising the house when ready, etc. A few logswere hauled, but as there was no head to the association the project wasabandoned for the time. The first school district in the county was createdthe 22nd of July, 1825, and embraced twenty-four square miles. The secondattempt to erect a school-house was in 1830. This proved a success. Itwas a small brick building, situated in the north part of the village ofRushville, on the lot where the Christian church now stands. The firstchurch house erected was in about 1832. It was a fair-sized brick building,and situated near the northeast-corner of the square. It is yet standing,and used as a sales-room by Crandall & Son.

The first justices of thepeace were Levin Green, Benjamin Chadsey, Hart Fellows, and Jesse Bartlett.The first practitioners of medicine were Benjamin Teel, Adams Dunlap, GeorgeRogers, and Drs. Hall and Smith. None of them are living except Dr. Dunlap,who resides in Buena Vista township. The first post-office was establishedin 1828, and situated in Rushville. Hart Fellows was the post-master, andthe office was situated on the east side of the square, where the marbleyard now is. Abraham Lowderback did the first blacksmithing for the people.His shop was situated on Lafayette street, about three blocks east of thesquare. The first carpenter and wheelwright was Benjamin Chadsey. The firstmill built in the county was erected by him for Calvin T. Hobart in 1826;it was what was then known as a horse-mill, and was situated in section17; its capacity was about 80 bushels of meal daily, and required two horsesand a yoke of oxen to give it power. It continued to run for a few years,until water mills were established on Sugar creek, when it was abandoned.Jonathan D. Manlove imported the first blooded stock in 1838; it was theDurham breed, and was brought from the State of Ohio. The first Berkshireswine was imported by Benjamin Chadsey and William Young in 1839. The firsthogs brought to the county were by McCartney & Beard, in the latterpart of 1823–they were quite a large drove of what were called “pointers”or“hazel splitters”–many of them strayed into the timber and subsisted onthe mast, thus becoming independent of their owners. In two or three yearsthe timber was overrun with wild hogs; the Indian dogs chased them as otherwild game, and any person killing them was allowed one-half for so doing.As this kind of stock was then somewhat scarce in the country, those wildhogs were of considerable benefit to the settlers. But dissatisfactionwith the Indians and the depredations of their dogs became universal andin the spring of 1826 nineteen of the settlers proceeded to call on themat a trading point on the Illinois river, just below the mouth of Crookedcreek. They killed some of their dogs, and notified the Indians to leavewithin ten days. The traders were also given the option to vacate or havetheir effects dumped into the river. The result was that there was no moretrouble with the traders or the Indians. The first orchard was plantedby Benjamin Chadsey and Mr. Blair, in the spring of 1828, and was in sectionnineteen. Some of the trees are yet standing.

Land Entries

October 6, 1817, Justus Watermanentered the S. E. ¼ of section 4.
October 28, 1817, DennisThompson entered the N. E. ¼ of section 1.
November 29, 1817, JamesH. Smith entered the S. W. ¼ of section 4.
November 12, 1817, JohnS. Knight entered the S. E. ¼ of section 12.
December 8, 1817, W. Claytonentered the N. E. 1/4 Sec. 8.
December 8, 1817, LeonardTrask entered the N. E. ¼ of section 7.

Board of Supervisors

The following named personsare those who have represented the township in the county board since townshiporganization:
1854 – Charles Neill
1855 – J. D. Manlove
1856 – Peter C. Vance
1859 – John C. Scripps
1861 – James L. Anderson
1862 – James A. Teel
1864 – George M. Greer
1865 – George W. Metz
1866 – Ludwell H. Demaree
1869 – Jonathan R. Neill
1870 – John C. Scripps
1871 – Robert G. Welker
1872 – John H. Irwin
1874 – Robert McMaster
1875 – Edgar Anderson
1880 – Edwin M. Anderson
1882 – George W. Bellomy,is the present incumbent.

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

Return toRushville Township index