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former, now married, concluded to be satisfied with his more recent partnership, as it promises to be a success. They have dealt largely in cattle.
Sabina Sackett has a fine farm in and adjoining Section 17. He is a first-rate farmer, has a nice house and says he is bound “to have one of them 'ere things" called a barn, and is putting up one of the best in town. He has fed cattle some, but does not make it the chief business.
Ezekiel Arrowsmith has 200 acres where he has so long resided, and is considered one of the best farmers.
M. Pemberton, in Section 27, has a large farm-grain and stock; is also engaged in buying and shipping.
James R. Cundiff has 136 acres in Section 27, with good buildings. He has five acres of black-walnut grove now growing. They stand about one rod apart. He considers them the best timber to raise on the prairie, especially on dry land, for the reasons they grow quick, nothing will kill them out, timber very valuable, and the nuts— when people become accustomed to them—will find good market. Mr. C. is a good deal more than three-quarters right.
The town is usually Republican.
The following list shows the Township officers who have been elected since 1858, the year township organizations took effect :
S. O'Neal............... A. Fenstermaker..... J. Fenstermaker.
James Crosson. J. L. Arbogast.
J. M. Stipp..... A. H. Webber.
A. Brannaman B. Cornell.
The following gentlemen have been elected Justices of the Peace: Walter Vanscoyoc, D. G. Tear, W. H. Thompson, Jeremiah Reed, J. R. Lewis, A. G. Barnes, J. M. Thompson, James Crosson. And the following Commissioners of Highways: Isaac Cornell, Jacob Smith, R. Porter, 0. H. P. Vanscoyoc, Thomas Fry, Henry Hickman, John Marsh, James Cundiff, John Coss. H. R. Rayburn, R. C. Watson, J. M. Green, John Deutsch, W. C. Jones, J. R. Lewis, William Spencer.
At a special town meeting, June 3, 1867, held, according to notice, to vote for or against subscribing $25,000 to the capital stock of the La Fayette, Bloomington & Western Railroad. The vote resulted : For such subscription, 76; against such subscription, 12. At a special town meeting, February 19, 1868, to vote for or against $5,000 additional subscription to the capital stock, the vote resulted, 41 for to 3 against such additional subscription. Ten-per-cent bonds, running ten years were issued for this $25,000, and they are now just about due.
An election was held August 17, 1869, to vote on the question of giving $15,000 to the Decatur & State R. R., which resulted 23 for to 85 against such aid. The bonds that were issued in aid of the L., B. & M. R. R. were issued before the road was built. The terms upon which they were voted, included a stipulation that the road should establish a depot in the town. It was agreed that there was no authority to issue until such depot was established, and that hence the issuing was illegal. It was believed that the three years' interests that was paid before such depot was established could be recovered. A suit was the result, which, after costing the township a few hundred dollars in the way of expenses, lawyers' fees and fee-bills, was discontinued, the Court holding in a similar case that bonds were good.
Arrowsmith was surveyed and platted in 1871. Railroad communication was opened in 1872. The land upon which it was laid out belonged to Mr. Young, Jonas Fry, James Crosson and M. Ulmer-ten acres cach. The men were required, or permitted, as it were, to convey to the certain persons who had the care of the railroad officials, land enough upon which to start the young town for $17 per acre, in order to get the station located in the center of township where it naturally belonged.
S. E. Cline put in the first pair of scales here, late in 1871, before trains were running on the railroad, so that he enjoys the reputation of being the father of the
Cline and James R. Larimer at once commenced buying and cribbing corn. In the spring of 1872, the switch was put in and depot erected. John A. Larimer and Mr. Jones put up the first store north of the railroad and east of Main street. Garrett V. Wall moved in the small bouse next north of the drug store adjoining his present residence. W. H. Thompson moved his store in from "Cross Roads" in the beginning of 1873, and continued to sell goods; indeed, before this time, he had quite a reputation for selling. The post office had been previously moved. During 1872, Mr. S. E. Cline built the residence now occupied by him, and Mr. Wall put up the one now used by him as a residence—both of these were on Young's quarter of the town. Mr. R. S. Krum, brother and representative of J. R. Krum, grain-dealer of Bloomington, put up, in the southwest quarter of town, the first residence that was built here, and about the same time put up the small grain office which now stands in the rear of his present store. He has been continuously in the grain trade to the present time, and proposes to stay. No man has done more for the interest of the young village.
In 1873, A. B. Ives and Walter Vanscoyoc built the present large steam elevator, 40x50, which was occupied by Cline & Larimer. It has been in use ever since, and is now in charge of Mr. Ives' son. Seth Mills moved his dwelling-house and blacksmith shop the same year, in from the "Cross Roads." He still occupies them, and has built, since, a new shop; and Mr. J. A. Larimer built a residence on Main street south of the railroad. W. H. Thompson built a dwelling on Main street north of the railroad, and Walter Vanscoyoc, who now lives at Saybrook, built one which he occupied for some years.
Mr. 0. G. Atherton, same year (1873) built the store he now occupies, and put in a stock of drugs, books, etc. He has since enlarged the building to accommodate his family residence, and continues to occupy the building yet. Cline & Larimer put up the building now occupied by Cline as a store, and put in a full line of general merchandise for a country store. Mr. Larimer, in the spring of 1875, withdrew from the partnership, and entered into a partnership with Robinson, which continued until 1879.
In 1872, Levi Heller put up a wagon-shop, which he used for a year, and then sold and built another. In 1873, Edward Wright built and occupied the “ granger” store on the corner north of the railroad, with a full line of goods, and, after a year, sold to A. H. Webber, who still continues in trade there. Mr. T. W. Maurice, Jr., built the saddler's shop, and built a dwelling which he still occupies. August Mantle built a dwelling, and in company with Peter Hileman, who built the store used by them, went into the hardware trade. Isaac W. Wheeler built the nice hotel in 1874, and soon died. Mrs. Westover now owns it and keeps hotel. She is now the oldest resident of the township. A. T. Ives has occupied the elevator since 1874. The following is the business directory of Arrowsmith in the spring of 1879: General merchandise, S. E. Cline, J. A. Larimer, A. H. Webber; groceries and provisions, R. S. Krum ; drugs, etc., W. H. Thompson, 0. G. Atherton ; hardware, tin, etc., August Mantle; harness, T. W. Maurice, Jr.; restaurant, Milton Sharpless ; blacksmiths, Seth Mills, John Mills; wagon-maker, Mr. Blake; grain, Sherman Westover, I. R Krum, John Deutsch, J. R. Cundiff, J. R. Larimer; elevator, A. T. Ives; carpenters, Nathan Hawk, William McDaniel, A. Lake; millinery, etc., Mrs. McDaniel, Mrs. Jones; hotel, Mrs. Westover; physicians, O. P. Paulding, M. D. Hull; Pontmaster, J. A. Larimer; station agent, R. L. Thomas.
The trade of Arrowsmith has been of a more permanent character and more generally prosperous than most of the new railroad towns. Nearly all those who commenced trade here have continued and are prosperous. Only one general assignment, for the benefit of creditors, has been made in the seven years of business. Trade is drawn from ten miles away, on the Mackinaw; and as a grain-shipping point, no station on the line of this railroad has done more one year with another. Only two years in its history has it been exceeded by any.
During the grain year just closing, the trade has not been quite as much as an average. There has been an average of about 800 car-loads, of 375 bushels each, making, in the aggregate per year, 300,000 bushels, 90 per centum of which is usually corn. Dealers here, as at other points on this road, find themselves compelled to sell on the track, as the system of special contracts, given to large dealers, renders it impossible for them to ship for their own account. Much of the corn goes to Cleveland; but the difference between the rate of freight which dealers here would have to pay, and what those parties which buy of them here have to pay, would amount to 8 cents, which would “cut off the profits."
The village is neatly built, the houses being of a neat, substantial and inexpensive character; but are, in comfort and taste, better than are usually found in new railroad villages. A. H. Webber bas, perhaps, the neatest one-one which was built by Mr. Hileman-now deceased. Esquire Thompson and Mr. Cundiff have each very pleasant homes.
WHITE OAK TOWNSHIP.
The township of White Oak is one of the most interesting in McLean County; it is the smallest in area-containing a little over seventeen sections of land—being a trifle less than balf a Congressional township. . Its population, in 1870, was 532, 9 less than shown by the census of 1860. At the present time, its population is probably about the same as in 1870; but as most of the other towns in this county have gained largely, it is doubtless true that White Oak now contains fewer inhabitants than any other town in McLean County. It has remained about stationary ever since its land was all taken up, about the year 1860.
White Oak Grove, from which the town derives its name, is a very large tract of timber lying on both sides of the Mackinaw River, nearly twelve miles in length from east to west and from four to eight from north to south. Very little of the Grove lies in this township-barely a few hundred acres—the balance being in the towns of Kansas and Montgomery, Woodford County.
White Oak Grove contains quite a number of romantic spots. There are several picturesque views, more striking, perhaps, than any others in this part of the State A little north of the township line, in Kansas, may be found very high ridges, giving fine scenery, while even from the high prairie rolls in White Oak, beautiful views are visible. Indian Point, a little west of the Carlock farm, is an historical spot, the favorite camping place of the Indians. The Indian trail was plainly to be seen when the first settlers arrived, and is still visible on the bluffs of the Mackinaw, a little below Forneyville. This trail came from the Wabash, touched the north side of Cheney's Grove; from there to Money Creek, not far from Towanda; from there to Indian Point; thence to the Mackinaw, below Forneyville, and so on to Fort Clark, now Peoria. There were other trails, but this one was very distinct and often traveled by the Indians.
The history of the township of White Oak is almost inseparable from that of the whole Grove, and we shall once in awhile find ourselves on the Woodford County side of the line without being aware of what we are doing. The northern part of the Congressional township, of six miles square, forms the township of Kansas, in Woodford County, while the southern portion is White Oak, in McLean County: and the county line between the two townships is such a jagged “struck-by-lightning" sort of an affair, that we shall certainly be pardoned if we are on the wrong side occasionally.
The early settlers regarded White Oak Grove as one settlement, the later divisions having been brought about in 1841 and subsequently, rather violently, or, perhaps we should
say, without the actual consent of those most interested.
It appears that settlements were not made along the Mackinaw at as early a day as they were made in the southern part of McLean County. We find Blooming, Raddolph's and Funk's Groves had each several families as early as 1823, while it was five or six years before any are reported as being in White Oak. Doubtless this was owing to the fact that the settlement of this State was then proceeding from the south toward the north, and the early pioneers felt that the Mackinaw Timber was rather a frontier settlement.
The pioneers of the other groves in McLean County preferred to live together, being anxious to build schoolhouses and have the social and religious advantages of well-settled communities, rather than be scattered too far apart. Probably the presence during these years—from 1823 to 1829—of large numbers of Indians along the Mackinaw had something to do with this state of affairs. These Indians were regarded as friendly, but no one knew just how far to trust them. In fact, in 1827, troops were called out to protect settlers living north of the Illinois River, and it required considerable courage to locate many miles in advance of a strong settlement.
The southern portion of White Oak Grove—that which forms the north part of the present town of White Oak--must have presented an interesting appearance to the early prospectors. Here was a magnificent body of timber, fronting upon a beautiful tract of the finest prairie to be found in the State. A few miles in the rear was a stream well stocked with fish; while the Grove was a noted resort of deer, turkeys and other wild game
of the period. Here the pioneer might reasonably look forward to a long season of good hunting, while he could, at the same time, avail himself of all the advantages to be derived from timber and prairie adjoining in such large bodies that neither would be likely to be at once taken by new settlers.
The correctness of this reasoning, so far as it relates to wild game has been proved by the fact that two deer were killed in this neighborhood as late as 1874; while, at the present time, White Oak Grove possesses wild turkeys and more game than any other timber of Central Illinois, though the Mackinaw does not furnish fish as it did fifty years ago.
Smith Denman, the oldest man living in White Oak, was its first pioneer. He settled here in September, 1829. During the same year, Thomas Dixon arrived, and, also, Littleton Sandford.
In 1830, Elisha Dixon, John Brown, Samuel and Robert Philips settled here. In the spring of 1831, three brothers, John, James and William Benson, settled near each other, on the south side of the Grove. A year after that, Abraham W. Carlock made his home about one hundred yards west of the McLean County line, in Woodford. During the same year, Zachariah Brown and Orrin Robinson made their settlement. Reuben Carlock came in 1833.
Other settlers, also, arrived before this time, so that by the end of 1836, there was a goodly number in and about the Grove. Some of the above-named should be credited to Woodford County. Several of the early pioneers had lived in other portions of McLean County before taking up land here.
The Bensons were sons of John Benson, of Blooming Grove, and came to that settlement with their father in 1823. They took a prominent part in the affairs of that settlement. Their father is often referred to in its history. He taught school at the southwest side of Blooming Grove several terms, was first County Treasurer of Tazewell County and was one of Blooming Grove's best men. He removed to White Oak in 1842. Here he passed the last years of his life-a remarkable instance of longevity; he died in 1874, having been pinety-six years old. He lived in the “ Benson Settlement,' with his three sons, his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren—115 in all, most of whom were living in the same neighborhood.
Mr. Benson was a genuine pioneer. He lived in Kentucky in his boyhood, until 1798, when his father removed to Southern Indiana. In the war of 1812, John Benson fought with Gen. Harrison at Tippecanoe. In 1820, he removed to Illinois. He was one of the best specimens of the early pioneers, having been a man of some