Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

about all that can be traced at Havens' Grove until the formation of the colony which laid out the village of Hudson.

Not long after the settlement at Havens' Grove was first made, the Hinthorns came to Money Creek timber on the east side of Hudson Township. They were relatives of the Havenses, and came from the same part of Ohio. There were three brothers of them-Adam, William and Isaac. Next came Elijah Priest, who had married Rebecca Hinthorn; they arrived in July, 1834. Then Isaac Messer, the United Brethren minister, moved down from above Lexington. Isaac Turnipseed came to McLean County as early as 1831, but did not move into Hudson Township until after his fatherin-law, Issac Messer. These names include about all who settled in Hudson Township early, and had no connection with the colony that located at the village of Hudson.

THE HUDSON COLONY.

The period preceding the year 1837, was an era of speculation in this part of the country. Schemes of almost all kinds were projected throughout the United States for the purpose of making fortunes rapidly. The old and sure, but plodding, methods of making money were abandoned, and expedients of various kinds for the purpose of outstripping them were adopted. Patent rights, new discoveries of various kinds, and mineral springs were tried by individuals; and the States and the Government partook of the excitement and projected canals and other public improvements on a vast scale. In this part of the State, colonization schemes flourished to an unlimited extent. Companies were formed in all parts of the country with a view of settling a locality simultaneously and with a common purpose—that of mutual benefit. It was reasonably conceived that with such a concert of movement, many of the hardships and privations usually incident to pioneer life might be dispensed with, and that the social, religious and educational privileges of the older settled parts of the country could be immediately transferred to their new homes. These enterprises were begun mostly during the years 1834–36, and were carried on with varied success. But few ever realized the bright anticipations of their projectors, but doubtless most of them were in a measure successful. Perhaps the colony of which we write has proved nearer a realization of hopes of its organizers than any other in this part of the State.

The Illinois Land Association, as it was called, was organized at Jacksonville, in this State, February 6, 1836, by Horatio N. Petitt, John Gregory, George F. Durkitt, and a number of others, the three named being appointed a committee of general superintendence. Nearly all of the township of Hudson was entered in the name of Horatio N. Petitt. Each member of the colony paid $235 for a share in the enterprise; for this, he was entitled to receive 160 acres of land, four town lots in the prospective village of Hudson, and a share in the net profits of the undertaking. Church and school advantages, were some of the inducements held out to the colonists to embark in the speculation, and these the Association eventually provided. One of the inducements held out to the colonists, however, the Association was unable to make good, and that was in regard to the amount of timber to be apportioned to each farm. Twenty acres were thought to be an amount requisite to furnishing fuel, fencing and building material for a quarter-section, but when the Association came to purchase the woodland, it was found that nearly all had been already occupied by earlier settlers, and that they were loath to part with it even at a fair price. The relative value of timbered land was

and as

then much greater than at present. It was not known that just a few feet below the surface of the ground lay millions of tons of superior fuel, all packed away from ages remote for this very generation. The means of transporting lumber from the pineries of the north and other parts of the world had not yet been provided. Consequently, 'every one who proposed settling here took into account the supply of this very necessary article, comparing its exhaustion all the while with the length of time actually required to grow a crop of the same. The failure, therefore, of the Association to supply the amount of timber caused no little dissatisfaction, and quite a number of the stockholders withdrew and removed to other parts. Some twenty of the original stockholders became actual settlers and have proved to be our most worthy and wealthy citizens. Among these were Horatio Petitt, John Gregory, John McGoun, James Robinson, Oliver March, James and Joseph Gildersleeve, Jacob Burtis and Samuel P. Cox.

The originators of the enterprise were, many of them, from near Hudson, N Y., and the name was given the village in honor of the one where they had formerly lived. On the 20th of June, Petitt, Gregory, Cox and a number of others left Jacksonville in a two-horse wagon, and after a journey of two days arrived at the spot destined to be the site of the village. The party made arrangements with the few settlers in the neighborhood for board for a short time, during which time the surveying and platting was completed. At this time, Jesse Havens and sons-in-law, and one or two more families were living in the township, and all except Havens, in one story, one-roomed, chinked and daubed log cabins. Mr. Havens was one of the leading men of the county, became a man of his standing, had reared for himself an edifice of more than ordinary pretensions, it being not less than a double log house. In this most of the colonists found shelter and food for the few weeks consumed in preparations for the apportionment of the lands. By the 4th of July of the year named, Elbert Dickason, who was then County Surveyor, with the help of some of the colonists, had made the survey complete, and on the day named the Independence of the United States was celebrated by the drawing for lots and lands. This accomplished, several of the colonists set out on their return to their homes to bring out their families, while others immediately began the erection of dwellings, so that before the cold weather, several new houses were to be found here. The new houses were all of a better character than the log cabins of the pioneers, being mostly heavy frame buildings; and the township in a short time tvok on a greatly improved appearance. The next year several more new houses went up, and all of the indications were favorable for a thriving town aud settlement. The hard times, bowever, which usually follow a period of speculation came on that year, and not only did it put a stop to this scheme, but to all others of a similar character throughout the West, and, from 1837 till 1850, progress in this particular locality was very slow. Occasionally a new settler made his appearance, but in the dozen years but little perceptible change, either in population or improvements could be observed. Much of the land entered in the name of Horatio Petitt has since been many times transferred, though a few of the farms still remain in possession of the original colonists who still reside in the township.

SCHOOLS. According to promise, the company erected, a couple of years after the establishing of the colony, a schoolhouse in the village. This was a frame building and was used as

schoolhouse and church for many years. It is still standing and is still used for school purposes. The same year, S. P. Cox donated a piece of land from his farm, and a schoolhouse was erected there. In this latter mentioned house, the first public school was taught that year, Cordelia Shope being credited with being the pioneer teacher.

The causes which checked immigration brought progress to a stand-still for the next twenty years, of course had their effect on all other enterprises, including the building of schoolhouses, and for twenty years only two more were added to the number erected the first year. The years 1854 and 1855 brought events which have been the direct causes of the rapid development of the school system of this section. Our readers need not be reminded that in the year 1855 was established the system of free schools which now prevails in this State, and which is the boast and pride of all of its intelligent citizens. The best school system, however, would be of little use in the best and richest country, if there were none to be educated. During the twenty years following the establishing of the colony, but few additions had been made to the population of the township, and the few educational advantages seemed to be about all that could be afforded or that were desired. About this time, however, the railroads were completed through this county--the Illinois Central immediately through the township; the Chicago & Alton within a mile of the southeast corner, and the Toledo & Peoria a few miles north of the north line—not only " brought a new lease of life" to this part of the county, but infused the life-giving principle into every department of industry, society, religion, politics and education. They brought with them, not only the facilities for improving all these, but the people themselves, and that of a most desirable class, and from this very date may be calculated the real prosperity of the township. Very soon additional educational advantages were in demand, and the school law opportunely gave them the authority to put such enterprises in operation. The citizens of this township have always taken a lively interest in any means for educating the youth, and, as a consequence, we find facilities not surpassed by any township of equal population in the county. A few figures from the report of the County Superintendent of Schools will give the reader a better idea of the condition of schools, than any other means at our command:

Number of schools, 9; number of persons under twenty-one and over six, 495; number of scholars enrolled, 415; total value of school property, $4,000; highest wages paid teachers, per month, $50; whole amount paid for teaching, $2,540.92; whole amount expended for school purposes, $3,467.75. An encouraging feature in the above report is that 84 per cent of all persons between six and twenty-one years of age, were last year in attendance at school. Taking out those over eighteen, it would probably disclose the fact that not more than two or three per cent of those between six and eighteen received no schooling within the year specified.

RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.

The first preaching done in the township was by John Dunham, the United Brethren Missionary. He preached at various places in the grove. .

When the society of United Brethren was formed on Money Creek, those of that faith, in this neighborbood, united with it and attended meetings at the regular place of preaching on Money Creek. As a result, there was no society formed in Hudson Township, at a very early date, as most of the early settlers were United Brethren.

The first to organize a society were Methodists. The first Methodist preacher that ever held services was, probably, Rev. Mr. Latta, of Bloomington. David Trimmer was the leading spirit in Methodist affairs. The society increased, and built a church just west of the village of Hudson. This was a small church, but served as a place of meeting until the building of the present house of worship in the village. In early times, sectarian feeling did not run so high as it has sometimes since. Latta used to preach occasionally at Jesse Havens'. Mr. Mitchell, of Stout's Grove, also preached here early. He was a Presbyterian, but we learn of no Presbyterian society in these parts.

Around Hudson, and to the north, there is quite a strong society of German Baptists or Tuukers, or, as they call themselves, Brethren. The first persons of the Brethren's faith, to settle in the township, were John Y. Snavely and wife. They came from Indiana, and settled three-fourths of a mile northwest of the village of Hudson, in the east edge of Havens' Grove. Mr. Snavely and wife still reside on the same place. When they first moved here, they were not members of any church. Mr. Snavely had been reared in the Mennonite faith, but on becoming interested in the subject of religion, they visited Indiana, and were there received into the Church of the Brethren. On reaching home again, they gave their credentials to the church already organized in Woodford County. A brother of J. Y. Snavely came next. He and bis wife joined the church in Woodford County. There was also a sister, Elizabeth, who belonged to the same fraternity. These five, John Y. and Moses Y. Snavely and wives, and the sister Elizabeth, were the only persons of the faith in the community for a long time. They held their membership in the Woodford County church, where they attended meeting. In 1865, two more were added to their number—Abram Blough and wife, from Pennsylvania. In 1866, Thomas D. Lyon and wife and three daughters added their influence to the small society just starting. Soon after Mr. Lyon and family came, they organized a society. The organization was effected in 1868, under the supervision of James R. Gish, of Woodford County. At this time, Thomas D. Lyon was ordained

Elder, and John Y. Snavely was elected Deacon. Mr. Lyon has had charge of the • society ever since. He was born in Hardy County, W. Va., March 3, 1821. His

father was Michael Lyon, and his mother's name, before her marriage, was Louisa Stingley. Her father was a native of Germany. Michael Lyon is of Irish extraction. He is still alive, living with his son at the village of Hudson. Thomas D. Lyon lived in Hardy County until 1864. October 26, 1843, he married Mary Clark, of the same county. Her ancestors were like her husband's, her father being of Irish descent, and her mother a German. Mr. and Mrs. Lyon have been members of the Brethren's Church from their youth. They have had nine children, eight of whom are still living. Five daughters are married, and all live within a radius of two miles from their father's home, in Hudson Village. Three of these daughters married brothers-sons of John Y. Snavely. The three boys are younger, and not married. Mr. Lyon has presided over the church interests of his flock with eminent ability and success. For fifteen years, he has been able to observe a steady growth. He has had the satisfaction of seeing his charge increase from a dozen to more than three-score. With no meeting-house at first, they held services in the various schoolhouses in the neighborhood. Now they have a comfortable church, the only difficulty being a lack of room to accommodate their ing congregations. The church was built in 1875. It is two miles north of the village of Hudson. It is a comfortable house, 32x18 feet. It has a basement, and is heated

grow.

« AnteriorContinuar »