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of his faithful horse. It is not to be wondered at that his relatives on the Mackinaw were so uneasy as to try soon after to make an unsuccessful trip of discovery. The endeavor was abandoned, after making only a portion of the distance, from sheer inability to go on.
The Henline Creek flows from near the center southwesterly to the Mackinaw, which only runs across the southwestern corner of the township. Lawndale was all prairie, except portions of Sections 31, 32 and 33. The name was suggested by Hon. John Cassedy when the township was organized, and readily accepted. The timber along the stream is of the varieties usually found in this portion of the State-oaks, black-walnut and hickory predominating. Along this the early settlers lived without for ten years being troubled by tax-gatherers, neighbors, or other attendants to civilization. They purchased timber-land, but enjoyed the free use of all the prairie-land they wanted, not thinking it worth buying. When the first prairie-lands were bought for $1.25 per acre, the timber-lands were held at, and in fact, some actually sold for from $35 to $60 per acre. With no coal to burn, no Osage orange for fencing, and herds of cattle ranging at will over the country, before the days of cattle ordinances, it was hardly thought safe to commence a farm without a piece of timber-land to furnish fencing and fuel. The first settlement made in the township was by the Henline family, some of whom, with their numerous descendants, still reside on the lands that they first brought into cultivation.
Three brothers of the name, who were of German descent, John, George and William, had grown up in Boone County, Ky., and in the fall of 1828, started from that place for this State. It was at a time when Illinois was attracting a considerable immigration, thousands of families leaving the State to better their condition where they could find cheap land and plenty of it for their usually numerous families. Many of them had become dissatisfied with the effects of slavery, and, with their moderate means, felt that they preferred homes in a free State.
The Heplines came as far as the western boundary of McLean County and remained a few weeks, when John went farther and made a home on the southeast quarter of Section 30 of the present town of Lawndale, about two miles from the stream, on Henline Creek, which took its name from him. He was crippled while on his way from Kentucky, and never recovered ; but this did not prevent an active frontier life. Here he lived, and his family grew up around him, and died in 1869. His wife was a sister of Major Darnall, who was the first settler in Livingston County, at Indian Grove, and who, at this writing, still lives there. His sons, David, William B. and Martin, young boys at the time of their journey hither, became the large landed proprietors of this and adjoining townships, and for many years were known as the leading live-stock men of this part of the county.
In later years, reverses came to them as to thousands of others, who have seen the accumulations of industrious lives swept away by adverse circumstances. William, a brother of the pioneer, made a home on Section 32, nearer to the Mackinaw; and George, another brother, near by. These three brothers were the only residents of the present Lawndale at the time of the “deep snow” and of the “Black Hawk war"two of the principal early events of our history.
They will never tire of telling, nor will the reader of reading, of the events of the time. Never in the history of the State was such a snow known as fell early in the
winter of 1830–31. The snow fell without wind, and is said to have been fully four feet deep, followed soon by a rain, which was in turn followed by severe freeze, keeping the snow from drifting and making it almost impassable. Game of all kinds suffered death by starvation, and what seemed at first a real help to the settlers, in the ease with which they captured game and meat, became a loss before spring, in the destruction of that which they largely depended on.
During the time of the snow, the Henlines found it necessary to feed some of the wild hogs, to "keep them along," and picking corn was accomplished industriously by poking the snow away from the stalk and fishing out the ear, about as we hunt young potatoes when we do not wish to pull up the vines. It was not very rapid picking, but the boys did not have to go to school, and the number of head of stock to feed was not many.
Up to the time of the Black Hawk war, there were Indians in this vicinity, and so far from being considered dangerous company, were rather encou
ouraged in their visits. The Henlines returned on a visit to Kentucky in the fall of 1830, to procure farm implements, stock, etc. Mrs. H., having an eye to future barrels of apple-butter, pulled up a few yearling apple-sprouts, which she carefully wrapped up in cloths, “ heeling them in ” with earth, and brought them to the Mackinaw. What Phænix has been doing for the prairies, she did for the early settlement; and there never was a prouder fruit-grower in all McLean County than was Mrs. Henline when she first picked apples from the orchard which her forethought had given, and which her children and children's children still gather from.
One of the matters about which memory lingers and much has been said was the “ fort " which was built at Henline during the Black Hawk war. So far as the writer knows, no written or printed description of this frontier work exists, and it was his good fortune to get from the lips of one who was active in military operations of this "department," Mr. George Spawr, who still lives with his son in Lawndale, a description of the formidable fortification. Capt. Merritt L. Covel, of Bloomington, was chief in command, and the men of this frontier followed his orders without a murmur. The fort was at John Henline's house, on Henline Creek, about two miles from its mouth and about one hundred and ten rods from the present Evergreen M. E. Church. Logs were cut about the length of a rail-cut and split in two. A trench was dug, about three feet deep, and these split logs were firmly set in the ground, perpendicularly, so as to form a perfect protection against anything in Indian warfare. The inclosure thus made was about four rods by six, giving plenty of room for all to collect if necessary.
A similar one was built at Rook's Creek, for the protection of that neighborhood. Mr. Spawr was one of the mounted guard who ranged the country from the Mackinaw to the Vermilion. About the time of change of guard, Capt. Covel instructed two of the soldiers to give a false alarm, to see whether the militia would come to time in good order, and really for fun, possibly. Spawr gave the alarm, and such another “breaking for the timber" never was known in these parts.
The only Indians in the neighborhood were the Kickapoos, at Oliver's Grove, who, with reduced numbers and long abstinence from warlike adventure, were really more afraid of the whites than the whites were of Indians. They seemed to reason thus : Living here alone, without arms, and almost surrounded by white settlements, within a day's march of civilization, they could be made an easy prey to any hostile demonstration the
whites might, from revenge or from sheer desire for blood-letting, engage in. The whites, with a century's experience before them, could hardly be expected to be free from anxiety. They could not well anticipate this disposition on the part of the Kickapoos; hence the mutual fear.
Happily, the “vigorous prosecution ” of the war in the northern part of the State soon relieved the settlers on the Mackinaw from all fear, and, in a few weeks, they were permitted to return to their crops without having seen any actual war. The defeat of Black Hawk removed the last fear of Indian war from this State, and sent in a tide of immigration which lasted till the great commercial crash of 1837.
Martin Batterton came here from Madison County, Ky., where so many of the settlers of McLean came from, in 1833, coming on horseback. He was a cousin of the Henlines, and after looking at the country concluded to make it his home. He purchased the claim of Nicholas Darnall and returned to Kentucky for some tools, with which he went to work. He was skilled in the use of tools and became the handy mechanic of the settlement.
In 1835, the land “came into market,” as the settlers say—that is, the United States was slow in making surveys, and settlements ran far ahead of land offices—but
year the surveys had been made and land offices opened, so that land could be entered and title secured. In many places, there was a good deal of strife in securing land, but here no one attempted to jump another's claim, and, consequently, nobody failed to get the land he lived on, if he wished to. The settlers in Lawndale sécured title to their land and purchased such as they wished at the minimum price.
Martin Batterton entered the northwest quarter of Section 32, and built a house upon it, in which he now resides. He married the following year, and an interesting family of children have grown up around him. His only son, who served faithfully in the war for the Union, and was afterward editor of the Vicksburg Herald, was accidentally killed in 1865. His daughters are married, the one to T. B. Kilgore, one of the most prosperous farmers in Lawndale; the other to A. J. Moon, a successful merchant in Lexington.
John Smith came to the Mackinaw in 1834. He took up land and, later, entered in Section 30, southeast quarter, where his son, Shelton, still resides, who is well-known as an enterprising and public-spirited man. Shelton well recollects the first school which was taught in this neck of timber, as he was about eleven years old and was one of the pupils. The teacher was an Irishman, well-educated, but retaining plenty of the “rich Irish brogue.” He taught in what is now known as the Chinese plan. Pupils studied aloud, and teacher, hickory in hand, marched around, shouting his orders like a militia captain on parade day, making himself heard by the superior strength of his voice. He only taught till Christmas and left, it is supposed, in consequence of a determination on the part of the school to " bar him out,” according to the custom of the times.
Hunting was the great sport in those early days. Deer and other game were so plenty that it made matters very interesting.
The sudden change," so often spoken of by the old residents, was, in many respects, a strange phenomenon. Late in December, 1836, the weather had been warm, and the ground was covered with wet, the mud being thin from recent rain and thawing. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon, a western wind sprung up, and was so cold that the thin mud and slush commenced to freeze at once. Children who were returning