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and Cyrus Benson have served the town in that capacity. The Justices have been, in addition to those first elected, John Cassedy, J. T. Starkey, Malcom McNab, Silas Wilcox, S. M. Smoats. The following have been elected Assessors: Joseph Hamilton, J. F. Myers, W. H. Myers, S. M. Smoats, G. W. Kirker, and these Commissioners of Highways, J. W. Vawter, A. B. McNab, H. H. Scott, R. M. Vance, Hugh Neal, J. Benson, H. W. Warner.
Politically the town was Democratic until 1860, when it was a tie on Presidential candidates. Since then, Republican by about fifteen majority until the “farmer's movement” took shape, since which it has usually given a small majority against the Republican ticket.
The Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry took a strong hold among the farmers here, as well as in almost all the farming communities. Notwithstanding the determination to the contrary at the opening, it soon assumed a political cast, and after its short run, went the way of other organizations whose objects are good, but which have only the general good at stake. Human nature seems to lack the ability to carry on those purely social and unselfish associations.
By 1852, there seemed, for the first time, a necessity for common schools. The rush of immigration consequent upon the railroad age had commenced. In that year the township school organization was effected. At the close of 1851, not one-quarter of the township had been sold; but in three years from that time, land was held at $8 per acre, which was a rapid advance, but not beyond a just value. The school section was upon the creek, and was coveted as early as this for a cattle range, having, for most of the year, a good water supply. In 1855, the school land was sold at a low figure, and was really of nu great value to the schools, compared with what it would have been if kept for ten years longer. "The Swamp-Land Fund," which was intended as an addition to the common-school fund, has not, in this county, proved, directly at least, such an addition. Complaint is made, that the County Court, previous to the adoption of township organization (and this complaint was one of the principal reasons for adopting that system in this county), had diverted the proceeds of the County Swamp-Land Fund, to secure the location of the State Normal School at or near Bloomington. There never was any general complaint that the Normal School was not, in all respects, a worthy and a valuable institution, and really a desirable acquisition, but that its benefits were largely local. But the great complaint was, that the using of the fund in that way, was a diversion from the common-school fund. The law required that these " swamp ” lands (many of which are known to be the very best farms in the county) should be “ drained ” and sold. The draining was never done except on paper, and one of the great benefits which would have accrued from a general system of drainage was never received.
In April, 1866, the town was divided into five school districts; and, in 1878, into nine. From the last report of the Treasurer, Cassedy, the following figures are taken: Number of districts, 9; number of teachers employed, 13; whole number of children under twenty-one, 518; number between six and twenty-one, 357; whole number enrolled in schools, 272; average number of months taught, 8; amount paid teachers, $2,127.53 ; paid for other expenses, $1,277.20; total amount paid, $3,404.73; amount of school fund, $4,077. The township furnished her full quota of men to serve in the grand army of the Union for suppression of rebellion. Indeed, it is believed that more than the full number were really supplied. The circumstances were all against getting full “ credits” to a township like this. Many of the younger readers will hardly understand what this means, and an explanation is here given for their benefit (the reading of which may be “skipped” by those who were supervisors during that trying time, and those who were in mortal fear of a draft,” for such are presumed to fully understand all about it). During the filling of the first calls of the President for men, all enlistments were from pure patriotism, or from a laudable desire for military renown from honor or promotion. Men rushed to arms from every township of our common country, without ever thinking whether they had a residence, caring only to know whether they had a country. Many transient men enlisted who had no home. In Lawndale there were many new comers, their sons and hired men staying with them perhaps only a few days, and then hurrying to arms without knowing or caring where their residence was. No company or part of a company was raised in town, and many who went to the centers of enlistment, were marked on the rolls as being residents of the place where they enlisted. As time went on, and the demands for men became more urgent, men were always around the business centers, who were shrewd enough to induce men to credit to their place of enlistment instead of their own homes. Thus Lawndale and similar towns never got credit for the men who went to the army; and when a draft was ordered, it became a source of great trouble and anxiety on the part of those who had the township affairs in charge, to hunt out and get credit for those who had enlisted.
The men from Lawndale enlisted in most all the various regiments which were raised in the county. Some of the first into Capt. Patten's company, of the Twentieth. Others into Oglesby's Eighth. Several into the “Normal" and the Ninety fourth. Some going into the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth, which was raised in Livingston County, and of course into many others. The town should, without further delay, make up, for preservation, a record of those who nobly served and heroically died for their country's cause.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
Padua Township is in the second tier of townships from the southern line of the county, and the third from the east line, being joined on the north by Blue Mound, on the east by Arrowsmith, south by Empire, and west by Old Town. The surface of the soil is gently rolling, being higher and more rolling along its northern sections, and along a portion of the southern. The high ridge frequently spoken of in these sketches as lying along the line which divides the townships in 24 from those in 23, is plainly discoverable along the northern part of Padua. Indeed, it extends from Normal almost due east nearly to Gibson, in Ford County, and fairly divides the head-waters of the Money Creek, the Mackinaw and the Vermilion north, from those of the Kickapoo, Salt Creek and the Sangamon on the south. Such “divides" are not uncommon, and are always sought out by the “second settlers," that is, those who came in the second immigration wave, after the timber line had all been occupied; and the farm-seeker would only take such lands as his judgment told him would not be liable to overflow, and would need no draining. In this view the judgment was hardly correct; for it is a well-known fact now that all through these uplands are spots which are greatly improved by tile draining. A similar, though less marked and less uniform, ridge runs from the head of Old Town Timber almost due east, to the county line, five miles southeast of Saybrook, keeping almost exactly on the line between Townships 22 and 23. These two ridges hold within their bounds all of that portion of McLean County lying east of the Kickapoo, in Town 23, Ranges 3, 4, 5 and 6, and embraces the valley of the Sangamon River for the first twenty miles of such valley.
The remarkable thing about this valley is that it is bounded, as above stated, almost exactly north and south, by the township lines of these four Congressional townships, the north branch of Salt Creek only seeming to find a way across the southern boundary.
It was here, at the point where the timber grows upon this “divide " between the Kickapoo and the Sangamon, that the Indians made their habitations and lived in their Old Town home, as is more fully set forth in another portion of this work; and near the corners of the towns of Padua, Arrowswith, Empire and West, are still to be seen the old fortifications by which they expected to protect themselves from the dangers of “ civilization." The township of Padua derived its name from the postoffice of that name within its borders, and was selected by the Department, or, rather, by some official of the Department, for there seemed to be no one living in the neighborhood who had an ambition to have his name perpetuated by post offices. It is six miles square, being a full Congressional township, and had, at its original settlement, about six square miles of timber, covering very nearly the six southern sections.
It has no considerable stream running through it.
The La Fayette, Bloomington & Western Railroad, which, since its construction, is known by the title of La Fayette, Muncie & Bloomington, runs through it from east to west, having on it, Holder, on the west line of the township; Padua, near the centre; and Ellsworth, near the eastern line; Benjaminville, a hamlet, with its church, post office and blacksmith-shop, before railroad times, on the prairie, near the northwestern corner; and its wooded counterpart, familiarly called “Stumptown,” on the timber line. With a singular disposition to make the local name as horrid as it could well be, the christening powers added the name of Saint Clairsville, as the name of the precinct where the people from this whole country went up to vote in the olden time.
St. Clair would have been, as the name of the good preacher who, after Peter Cartwright, had charge of the Elder's district, an appropriate name for the field of his labors; but he who suggested, sanctioned or authorized the tacking of the “ville” onto the good Elder's name and that of Friend Benjamin, has lain himself open to being called “ villain."
In the absence of any official record, and now that the oldest citizens have passed away, it is not positively known, but there is good reason to believe, that John W. Dawson, who was also of the first in Blooming Grove, was the first to settle in that part of Old Town Timber which lies within the present bounds of Padua. Dawson came with his old friend, John Hendrix, from Champaign County, Ohio, via Sangamon County, to
Blooming Grove, and made the first settlement in McLean County in 1822. Four years later, or fifty-five years ago, he sold his claim there and set up his lares and penates and what little else he had, in Padua, on the farm now occupied by John Wirt. Dawson sold his Bloomington claim to Benjamin Cox, who died before he removed his family to it. His son David became the owner of the place. From this, it appears that the settlement of Padua was only four years after that at Bloomington. Mr. Dawson was the father of ten children, who are either dead or scattered from the home of their childhood. He moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa, and died there. In 1829, James Vanscoyoc came from Ohio and took a claim where his son-in-law, Marks Banks now lives. He was a man of energy, and helped greatly in bringing to subjection the wild lands of Padua. He remained here about twenty years, and then moved to Cheney's Grove. Of seven children, five grew up and settled around him in this and the adjoining townships.
William R. Goodheart, father of Sheriff Goodheart, of McLean County, after many wanderings, came here to live in 1827. He only remained here about three years and then took up his abode in Bloomington. He had, perhaps, seen more of the world than any man who was known hereabout at that time, or, very likely, since. Born in Scotland, after living awhile in Holland, he ran away and went to sea; was captured by the French ; and, taking the matter as easily as possible, he enlisted under the first Consul, and followed the French eagles through seven years of campaigning; stood sentinel on the porch of St. Peters, in Rome; and was present at the burning of Mos
While the Scotch are famous for being found in every clime, and in habit places in every corner of the globe, he was probably the first Scotch Presbyterian who ever helped the French infidel hold the keys of the Vatican against the Pontiff, who is popularly credited with being the ecclesiastical successor of St. Peter. This exemplifies one of the strong peculiarities of the Scotch. He subsequently enlisted in the British service and came to America to help subdue the States, but was captured in Perry's victory, and, preferring service in the American cause to being exchanged, he enlisted under Harrison. He lived in Ohio awhile after the close of the war, and then came to McLean County and tried the Mackinaw awhile;. came to Padua, then went to Bloomuington, where he died in 1842. He became a devoted member of the Methodist Church, and was licensed by Cartwright as an exhorter. His life was a varied one, full of the most startling incidents. Born in the land of John Knox, growing up with the Dutch, bearing arms for infidel France, serving commercial England, fighting for Young America, braving the hardships of frontier life in McLean, making the first brick that were made in this county, enlisting late, but with the spirit of a trained soldier under the banner of the cross, he devoted his latter years to a fervid and effective preaching of the Word. He was the father of ten children, most of whom grew up around him to honor the memory of his gnarled life and triumphant death.
Jeremiah Greenman came from Ohio to the Dawson place in 1831. He entered a farm and remained here until he died, in 1813. Nine children were born to him, eight of whom grew up. One was killed in the battle of Prairie Grove, and the
youngest son, Jeremiah, after serving his country in the war for putting down rebellion, returned to care for his widowed mother. A few years since, he sold the farm to Willis Whightman, and removed to Kansas.
Jesse Frankeberger came here from Ohio in 1829, and settled on the farm now occupied by his son Frank. He was a local preacher of the M. E. Church, and the
preaching services, especially quarterly meetings, were frequently held in his barn. He was a man of strong good sense, and a good manager. He owned and managed a large farm, and preached wherever he was wanted all over this part of the country, from the Mackinaw to Monticello, in the houses or barns or groves, wherever he could collect a few together, riding miles to attend an appointment, and returning home without a dinner. Politically, he was a strong Democrat. He remained upon his farm here until 1858, when kc went to Bloomington, where he died at the age of eighty. He was three times married, and was the father of eighteen children, twelve of whom are now living, only two, however, in Padua-Frank and Mrs. Allen Hendrix; the others are scattered all over the West. His widow recently died here at a good old age.
Adolphus Dimmick came here in 1832. He was originally from Tolland County, Conn. He took up a claim near what is called Stumptown, and lived there until 1845. His family are all dead, except his wife, who married Mr. Ireland. She still lives on the farm which she helped to make, which is in charge of her nephew, John Livingston.
Josiah Horr, who has been, and still is, reckoned an influential man in the history of Padua, came here from Lewis County, N. Y., in 1836. His wife was a Cheney, which probably decided his coming here. He still lives on the ground he first entered, bas 350 acres, which he and his son are farming. He has repeatedly served his town as Supervisor, and in other official capacity, to the general satisfaction of his neighbors. He lived first on the Dawson place, but soon got into his own cabin. The Padua post office was long held at his house, but was moved when Ellsworth was established at the station. There has hardly been a year since he came here with his father that he has not been in some minor official position-being a man of strong mind and clear perceptions, good education and sterling honesty.
John Bishop, who has lived for some years in the “Stumptown" neighborhood, came to the timber about this time, but first settled further west. Quite a large family grew up about him, several of whom gave their services, and one his brave, young life, to his country's cause. This family, like the other Bishops in this part of the county, are highly respected for their ability and worth.
John Hendrix came to Old Town Timber from Huron County, Ohio, in 1836, and took a claim where the " Cheney's Grove Road crosses the Kickapoo. In 1854, he came to Padua, and died here in 1857, leaving a comfortable property to his children, who, with his grandchildren, grew up here. Of his six children, three are now living. One was the unfortunate subject of the startling tragedy which, by his own hand, closed the lives of himself and wife in a moment of mania. Another, Allen Hendrix, is too well known in every township in McLean County to need anything more than the mention of his name here to recall a hundred incidents and recollections to the mind of nearly every reader. After living awhile with his father in Old Town, he went to Bloomington and built four houses near where the L. M. & B. R. R. depot now is in Pone Hollow.
He has lived in Padua twenty-one years, on the farm one-half mile south of Padua Station. He married a daughter of Rev. Jesse Frankeberger, by whom ten children were born, nine of whom are living. Mrs. H. is a woman of great personal worth, attractive both in appearance and in the excellence of mental powers and firm