Woodstock is one of thefractional townships of Schuyler County, Crooked Creek cutting off a portionof the southwest corner, making the township triangular in shape. The areaincluded within the township, however, is equal to those six miles square,for there are frictional additions on the south and west.
The land surface of WoodstockTownship is well drained by numerous streams that flow into Crooked Creek,and in consequence the greater portion of the township is rolling, althoughthere is a large area of small prairies lying between. The soil is richand productive, and suited alike for the cultivation of corn and wheat.The resources of the township are wholly agricultural. Coal is found insmall quantity, but veins are not sufficiently large to mine profitably.There are no towns or postoffices in the township.
George and Isaac Naught werethe first settlers in Woodstock Township, locating there the year followingthe first invasion of Schuyler County by homeseekers. They came from WhitesideCounty in 1824, first settling on Section 36. Soon afterwards George Naughtremoved to Bainbridge Township, where be made his permanent home. IsaacNaught continued to make his home in the township and reared a family ofeleven children, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren are todayresidents of the township. In 1825 John Starr and son, Hasting Starr, andThomas Eggleston joined the Naught settlement, locating on adjoining sections.
William Black was the pioneersettler in central Woodstock, moving there from what is now the city ofRushville in 1826. Mr. Black came to Schuyler in November, 1825, and purchasedthe claim of Willis O’Neal on the southwest quarter of Section 30, RushvilleTownship. The following spring the committee chosen to locate a county-seatselected this quarter, and Mr. Black was entered out, thereby losing the$200 he had paid O’Neal. When thus compelled to seek a new home he movedinto Woodstock Township, locating on the southwest quarter of Section 15.The Indians were then in possession of the country, but a few years afterMr. Black had erected his cabin here a road from Rushville to Quincy waslaid out, and his little cabin was the frequent stopping place of travelers,and the locality was known for years as the Black settlement. Mr. Blackreared a large family and his descendants continue to make their home inWoodstock.
In 1827 Isaac Sanders locatedon Section 15 and made an improvement, where he resided until his deathsome years afterwards. He was accompanied to the county by Jacob Fowler,who drove a flock of geese all the way from Indiana. Those were probablythe first domestic geese in the county. James Edmonston was another settlerof 1827, and he took a prominent part in county affairs in the early days.Other settlers of that year were Moses Pettigrew, Benjamin Golston andJohn Logsdon and his brothers, Vaughn, Amos, Redman and Jackson Logsdon.
In 1829 Mrs. Amelia Riley,with a family of six sons, Daniel, Caleb, Anderson, Martin, Isaac Shelbyand Pressley, and a married daughter, the wife of Mordecai Fowler, drovefrom Indiana and settled on Section 7, Woodstock ‘I’ownship.
Allen Alexander and familytook up their home on Section 28 in 1829, and for a time he operateda ferry across Crooked Creek near where the wagon bridge now stands.
Timothy Harris came fromthe neighborhood of Springfield in 1830, and settled on the northwest quarterof Section 15, and lived in the township until his death many years afterwards.Prominent among the other early settlers were: John Howell, James Beard,Pierre J. Jonte, Peter Hermetet, James F. Grosclaude, and Alexander Stutsman.John Brown, who represented Schuyler County in the Legislature when theState capital was at Vandalia, serving at different periods in both Houseand Senate, first became a resident of Rushville in 1831, and eight yearsafterwards removed to Woodstock Township, locating on Section 16, wherehe lived until his death in 1858.
The first marriage in thetownship was that of John H. Starr and Miss Nancy E. Black.
The first school taught inthe township was in a cabin on Section 36 and John Taylor was teacher.
The first church was builtby the Baptists on the northeast quarter of Section 2, Range 1 South, in1831. Rev. John Logan was the first preacher. Rev. John Ray, Rev. Wm. Crow,Rev. John Taylor and Rev. Granville Bond were among the earliest preachers.
As early as 1829 a mill-seatwas granted John Ritchey on Crooked Creek, where Ripley is now located,and on June 6, 1831, Walter D. Scott and Osborn Henley were granted permissionto build a dam across Crooked Creek on the northeast quarter of Section11, One North, Three West. Both these early mills were in what afterwardsbecame Brown County, and it was not until 1837 that a mill was erectedin Woodstock Township. This mill was erected by Robert Burton on the southeastquarter of Section 28, and was a combination grist and saw-mill.
Population in 1900, accordingto United States census report, 1,076.
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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