WoodstockTownship History

Woodstocktownship, is situated in the extreme southern part of the county, and isone of the finest bodies of broken land in Schuyler. It contains all oftownship 1 North, Range 2 West, lying north and east of Crooked creek,and also that portion of township 1 South, Range 2 West, and township 1North, Range 3 West, that is cut off from Brown county by the course ofCrooked creek. It is rectangular in shape, bounded on the north by Camdenand Buena Vista, east by Bainbridge, and south and west by Brown county.Originally the whole surface was covered with timber, and there is yeta considerable amount along the various water courses and on the bluffsadjacent to them. The surface is generally broken, and upon approachingthe stream in many places it becomes very rugged. The principal streamis the La Moine river, or more commonly known as Crooked creek, which washesthe western and southern borders of the township. There are also severalaffluents to this stream cousing through the lands, the larger of whichare Horney branch in the north, Strammel branch in the central portion,Town branch on the east and Adam branch in the extreme southern point.These are good-sized creeks, and furnish a good system of drainage, andan abundant supply of water for stock purposes. For a portion of the yearCrooked creek is navigable for small crafts for a few miles from it mouth.The soil in Woodstock is rich and productive, particularly adapted to thegrowning of wheat and corn of which large crops are annually raised, andhauled to the various markets. The improvements in this township comparewell with any in the county, and the citizens are of an intelligent, industriousclass, who are united in their efforts to make this one of the first townshipsin the county.


Thehonor of being the first settlers of Woodstock township belongs to Georgeand Isaac Naught, who came from Whiteside county, Illinois, and locatedon section 36, in the southeast part of the township in the year 1824.George Naught, however, soon located across the line into Bainbridge, andlived there until his death in 1847.  He left no posterity.

Themaiden name of Isaac Naught’s wife, was Nancy Evans, and they had a familyof eleven children, five sons and six daughters. At present there are sevenliving, four sons and three daughters, four of them in this county, twoin Oregon, and one in Missouri. The oldest, John Naught, served in theBlack Hawk war, and two sons, George and James, are at present living inthe township. Isaac Naught settled the farm now owned by the heirs of AlexanderStutsman, and erected his cabin on the southeast quarter of the southeastquarter of 36, T. 1N., R. 2 west, and lived there until he sold out toManlove, when he moved about a mile west and south of the base line. Hecontinued to reside on this place until 1859. It was at his residence thatthe first church in the township was organized. This occurred in 1827,by the regular Baptist denomination, and the preacher’s name was Ray. Thefirst elections were also held at his house. The Naught settlement, asit was called in early days, was the earliest in this township, and areof the first in the county. In the year 1825, were added to it the familiesof John Starr, and Hasting Starr, son of John Starr, and Thomas Eggleston.The Starr family came from Indiana, and descendants of the old sire, JohnStarr, are yet living in the county. The first settlement made in the northernor central portion of the township occurred in the year 1826. The pioneerwas Richard Black, a native of South Carolina. He was born in 1784, andgrew to manhood and married there. He moved with his family to Kentucky,where he lost his wife and was married again to Elizabeth Fowler. In November,1825, he emigrated and landed at Rushville with is family, and purchasedWillis O’Neal’s improvement. This was the land upon which the center ofthe city is built, and his cabin stood near the site of the old court-housein the public square. For this improvement Mr. Black paid O’Neal two hundreddollars, and he raised only one crop, when he was “entered out” by thecounty, which was then a new organization; and that particular spot hadbeen selected for the site of the county seat. Mr. Black never receivedmore than twelve dollars in money, and a two year old heifer, for the placefor which he had only a short time before paid two hundred dollars. Inthe fall of 1826 he moved to Woodstock, and settled on the S. W. ¼of section 15. His cabin was so located that the road from Rushville toMt. Sterling, which was afterwards laid out, ran past it, and his placebecame almost an inn, the traveling public halting there at all times ofthe day and night. His children that grew up were Nancy, Elvina, Sophia,William T. and Issac; James P. Black, a married son of his, came to Rushvillein the spring of 1826, and made his home with his father till the fall,when he moved with his father to Woodstock, and afterwards settled on theN. E. ¼ section 35 north range. He remained in the township untilhis death. In 1827 we find Isaac Sanders, who arrived here from Indianain the fall of that year, bringing with him his wife and four children,Tolbert, John, James and Purlina. He located on the S. W. ¼ of theN.  E. ¼ of section 15, where he erected a cabin and in thespring broke five acres and planted it in corn.  He lived and diedon the place, but his children have all left the county. He was also accompaniedwith Jacob Fowler, father-in-law of Richard, who was a South Carolinian. His family consisted of his wife and children, William, Isaac, Mary, Sarah,and Rebecca. They drove a flock of geese all the way from Indiana, whichwere probably the first domestic geese brought to the country. He locatedon the S. E. ¼ of section 15, and spent the remainder of his daysin Woodstock, and there is but one of this children now residing in thetownship. He was for a number of years a mail carrier and at one time controlledmany of the mail routes in the state.

MosesPettigrew, James Edmunston and Benjamin Golston came into the townshipearly in 1827. Pettinger moved across the creek into Cooperstown township,Brown county, a few years later, where he was among the early settlers.There also arrived in the same year Archibald Paris, James William andJohn Evans, and Daniel Matheny. Captain Daniel Matheny, as he was betterknown, was a patriot of the War of 1812, and was with General Jackson atNew Orleans, and captain of a company of rangers in the Black Hawk War.He came to this county with Joel Tullis, from Indiana, in a pirogue, downthe Ohio river and up the Mississippi and Illinois, in 1826. May 5, 1831,he sold his place, the southwest quarter of section 21, to James Tompson,and subsequently moved to Iowa.

In1829, Mrs. Amelia Riley, with a family of six sons, Daniel, Caleb, Anderson,Martin, Isaac Shelby, and Pressly, and a married daughter, the wife ofMordecai Fowler, came into the township from Indiana. They came in wagons,drawn by horses. Daniel was married when they came, and they all settledtogether, except Fowler, on the N. W. quarter of section 7, north range. He (Fowler) located on the same section with his father, Jacob Fowler.The Rileys were great sportsmen, very fond of horse-racing, shooting-matches,etc., in which the early settlers frequently indulged. The children ofMartin Riley are all of the family now residing in the county.

Earlyin 1826, John Logsdon came from Indiana with his wife and one child, andstopped with Richard Black at Rushville, for about three months, and sometime afterward became a resident of the southern part of this township.He finally moved to Missouri. About the same time that he came into Woodstock,his brother Vaughn and family settled on the S. W. quarter of section 3,north range, and remained for a few years. His brothers, Amos, Redman andJackson, single men, also became early residents, but afterwards went tothe same state.

AllenAlexander and his family came about 1829, and settled on section 28. Hekept a ferry across Crooked creek, at a point near where the Rushvilleand Mt. Sterling road crossed the stream, at a very early day.

TimothyHarris was also an early arrival. He was a native of one of the easternstates, and came here from Morgan or Sangamon county. He brought with himconsiderable stock, cattle and horses; had a wife and one child, and settledon the N. W. quarter of section 15, north range. He had purchased the landbefore moving, and came with the intention of becoming a permanent settler. He died here at a very old age.

ZachariahWells and his sons, Tenney and Joseph, and John Conrad settled in the southernpart of the township in 1830.  James Beard, John Howell, and JonathanManlove, Jr., came in 1831. John Skaggs, Pierre J. Jonte, Peter Hermitete,James F. Groscloude, and Peter Adams, also, in the southern portion, settledin the year 1833. Jonte, Hermitete and Groscloude were native Frenchmen.Jonte and Groscloude were brothers-in-law.

AlexanderStutsman was another prominent early settler. He was born near Louisville,Kentucky, in 1798, and came to this county with his family in 1834, andpurchased the old place that Isaac Naught settled, of Jonathan Manlove,and resided there until his death, Oct. 30, 1876. He was married in Indianato Rhoda Seybold, and she still survives him, and is residing on the oldhomestead, in the seventy-fifth year of age. They had born to them elevenchildren, who are now living–two sons, John S. and Alexander Stutsman,Jr.; and nine daughters, all married but one, and six of them residingin the county. Alexander Stutsman, Jr., died in 1862, and three of hischildren reside in the county. John S. resides near the old homestead,and is one of the prominent and influential men of the township, havingserved several times as supervisor, and seventeen years as school trusteein Woodstock. In the Black Hawk War the Naught settlement furnished sevenvolunteers, viz:  Captain Daniel Matheny, George Naught, Sr., JohnNaught, Benjamin Golston, William Allen, Hasting Starr, and Daniel Edmonston.The township was equally patriotic in the other wars, and the names ofher gallant sons may be found enrolled in the chapter of patriotism inthe former part of this work.

JosephHoffman, a Pennsylvania German, and family, emigrated from Ohio, and locatedin section 16, about 1837 or ’38.  Michael Palmer, another Pennsylvanian,also settled about the same time. In 1839, John Brown, a Kentuckian, whohad come to the county in 1831, made his home in Woodstock. He had livedat Rushville for eight years.  He located on sec. 16, and remainedthere until his death in 1858. Six of his children are living; only one,however, in Schuyler county–Robert Brown, on section 10 of this township.The father, John Brown, was an associate judge, and was elected to thelegislature, while the capitol was yet at Vandalia; and was re-electedto serve his county two or three times in that capacity. He was also electedto the state senate for one term, was supervisor of the township, and alsoserved the people in other minor offices. His son, Robert Brown, servedone term in the Illinois senate; John C., another son, was sheriff of thecounty for two terms; and his son, George W. Brown, residing in Kansas,has also represented the township in the lower house in that state.

Thushave we sketched a few of the earliest and most prominent families in thetownship. We have not mentioned all of them, nor should it be expectedof us to do so. Early in the decade of 1830-’40, there began a steady immigration,and in some years during that time there was a large influx, many of thembecoming permanent settlers, and others remaining but a short time.


In1817 and  ’18, long before any settlements were made by the whiteman, in this part of Illinois, these lands were set apart by Congress forthe survivors of the war of 1812, and each soldier received a patent for160 acres of land; and the following are a few of the first claims locatedin this township:
T.1 N., R. 2 W–
JosephClough, November 15, 1817, S. E. quarter of section 1
SamuelPierce, November 29, 1817, N. E. quarter section of 4
NicholasWells, November 29, 1817, N. W. quarter of section 4
IsaacBrayman, November 19, 1817, S. E. quarter of section 8
L.Winson, October 6, 1817, N. W. quarter of section 9
WilliamLinton, December 24, 1817, S. W. quarter of section 10

T.1 S., R. 2 W.–
VirgilEachus, October 6, 1817, N. W. quarter of section 14
JohnW. Fancher, October 6, 1817, S. E. quarter of section 2
JohnH. Kersey, January 15, 1818, S. W. quarter of section one;
WilliamRandle, January 15, 1818, S. E. quarter of section one.

Thefirst school taught in the township was in a small log cabin on section36, in the year 1827, by John Taylor. The earliest school in the northernpart of the township was taught by a man named Hatfield, in an elm polecabin, built in the fall of 1833, in an elm grove, and the children “daubed”it after the session began, making the mortar inside the house, which hadno floor.  It was a subscription school, $1.50 or $2.00 per pupil.Among the scholars of that term were William T. and Isaac Black, Sarahand Rebecca Fowler, Houston and Elihu Alexander, James and Thomas Sanders,Alexander, Isaac S. and Pressly Riley. Anderson and Isaac Riley, took theteacher Hatfield out tied his hands and set him down in the snow, becausehe would not agree to treat his pupils with whiskey, which was then thecustom, on Christmas day. He did not comply with the request on Christmas,but signed their petition agreeing to treat on New Year’s day, which hedid.

Thefirst church was built by regular Baptists on N. E. ¼ section 2south range, as early as 1831. John Ray, John Logan, William Cross, JohnTaylor and Granville Bond were among the earliest preachers. James P. Blackwas the first justice of the peace. Isaac Fowler did the first blacksmithingin 1827 and Gamaliel Hill was the first wheelwright. He made many of thespinning wheels for the early settlers. The earliest mill was built byRobert Burton, on Crooked creek, on the S. E. ¼ of section 28, inthe fall of 1837. It was a saw and grist mill propelled by water; a framebuilding, and had one wheat and one corn burr. Another mill stands on thesame site, which was built by Michael and Henry Huffman about 1865, andis now owned and operated by Joseph Long. It has one wheat and one cornburr. The building is frame, and the mill is propelled by water. Thereis a good vein of coal underlying the whole surface of the township, andit is worked for local demands at several different points. William Lowdenworks the vein on section 11, and it is also being obtained on sections14, 9 and 12.  There is also an excellent quality of building andwhet stone quarried in section 24.

Thetownship is supplied with several churches. There are five neat and wellfurnished school-houses, where teaching is held the greater part of theyear. There is but one post office, Sylvia, which was established in thespring of 1881. Austin Black is the postmaster.  It is situated nearthe center of the township on the Mt. Sterling and Rushville road.

Board of Supervisors

Beloware the supervisors who have represented Woodstock since township organization.
1854- John Brown
1858- John Howell
1859- James H. Browning
1861- John C. Brown
1862- John C. Brown
1863- William P. Thompson
1869- John S. Stutsman
1870- John C. Brown
1873- John C. Brown
1875- Perry Logsdon
1878- John F. Langford
1879- John C. Taylor
presentincumbent:  John C. Taylor

Woodstockwas reported in the census of 1880 to have one hundred and ninety-threefarms and 1381 population.

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.

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