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education, while he was, at the same time, a hard-working, industrious settler. ory will be gratefully preserved by our community as well as revered by the large family which he founded. His three sons, who settled in White Oak, were “chips of the old block”-men most admirably fitted for the work they undertook. In fact, Smith Denman, the Dixons, the Browns, the Phillipses, the Carlocks and all the pioneers were first-class men.

Here was organized, naturally, at an early day, one of the pleasantest communities to be found in the West. The early settlers were well-disposed persons, and their descendants are of the same disposition. It is not saying too much to state that nowhere in McLean County can its equal be found. The present generation is largely made up of people who were born here or who have lived here from their childhood, and they have nearly all fallen into the good ways of the settlement.

The town possesses five churches, with seat-room enough for more than all its inhabitants—something that can be said of but few towns in the United States. Its inhabitants are mostly a church-going people. They are honest, moral, religious, social, economical, are not in debt, have no paupers, do not go to law, are generous to each other in misfortune, have no aristocracy, pay their bills—in short, form a strictly well-reg. ulated, we might almost say a model, community.

Here we find, more marked than in any other town in the county, the simplicity and good habits of our early settlers, uncontaminated by modern degenerate practices. There are no large villages near enough to attract the attention of the younger people, and they find amusement and sociability at home, and grow up purer and better than would be the case were they convenient to a city. Besides this, we should mention the fact that the population has changed less than any other, is made up more of the fanilies and descendants of the first settlers, and is mingled less with foreigners than is the case in most towns. Fortunately, the foreigners living here are nearly all of the relig. ious, careful, economical class, whose manners and customs are largely in harmony with those of the balance of the community.

The family connections of the Bensons, the Carlocks, the Browns, the Phillipses, and those of a few others of the old families, form some remarkable circles of relatives, living in good circumstances, moral--nearly all of them religious—bringing down to the present generation the best qualities of the early pioneers of this county, they are among the very best specimens of the “good old times” that can be found in McLean County. Their influence has affected the whole neighborhood favorably, and the honesty and good conduct of the people of the township have given it an enviable reputation. “Little White Oak" is the favorite of the balance of McLean County. Its history should be written with more care than we can give, as it abounds in most interesting events. Unfortunately for us, we can devote but little space to the fractional township now under consideration. We hope the history of the whole of White Oak Grove, without regard to the present township lines, will be written by some person who can do justice to the whole Grove.

The deep snow which came late in 1830, and stayed until February, 1831, found only seven families at the Grove-Elisha Dixon, Smith Denman, Thomas Dixon, John Brown, Samuel and Robert Phillips and Littleton Sandford. Elisha Dixon arrived the very day the snow commenced falling. There were over forty days in which snow fell, and it was thirty-six inches deep on a level in the Grove. In some spots where drifts

formed from prairie winds, the drifts were from ten to fifteen feet deep. As none of the settlers had been here over about a year, and most of them less than that, they were not as well prepared as were those who lived at Blooming Grove and other old settlements, and there was considerable suffering. This story has been so often told, and is repeated so much elsewhere in this book, that we will give it little space in this chapter.

The sufferings of this little band of pioneers, however, deserve more particular record, it being almost the beginning of history, as far as White Oak Grove is concerned.

At the time of the Black Hawk war, in 1832, several of the bravest men volunteered in Capt. McClure's company, and served through the campaign. Among the number were John Benson and Mr. Phillips, and there were several others.

After the news of the defeat of the troops from McLean and Tazewell Counties at Stillman Valley, the whole of this region became panic-stricken, and there were frequent

“ scares along the Mackinaw, that in after days were often made sport of, though at the time they occurred they were terrible. There was so much reason to dread the Indians that a company was called out to guard the “ frontier” of McLean County, and they patrolled the “border” for sixty days, most of the time, however, being farther east and northeast than the territory under consideration. The people living a few miles north and east were much more frightened than the residents of White Oak Grove.

Among the settlers who were in the township of White Oak, or in the Grove very near the present township, in the year 1841, we find the names of Smith Denman, Thomas Dixon, John Dixon, Joseph Dixon, Elijah Dixon, Elisha Dixon, James Benson, John Benson, William Benson, Silas Garrison, Reuben Carlock, George Carlock, A. M. Carlock, Abrer Peales, John Hinthorne, Samuel Kirkpatrick, John McGee, Stephen Taylor, Isaac Allin, Richard Rowell, Frank Rowell, R. C. Brown, Jeremiah Brown, Orman Robinson, Zachariah Brown, John W. Brown, John Denman, James Phillips, Lewis Stephens, D. M. Stephens, Jared D. Franklin, John Hinshaw.

This indicates a very fine settlement for this early date, and shows us that the timber-land was probably all taken that was situated convenient to the prairie.

When the county of Woodford was formed, in 1841, there was great interest alorg the border of the new county. The territory was all in McLean, but it was denied by the latter county as well as by the persons who were engineering the movement for the new county of Woodford. There is no doubt that all the district south of the Mackinaw River belonged naturally to McLean County, while nearly all its residents would have preferred to remain. In arranging the division, however, it was found necessary to adopt a line other than the river. We have two different accounts of the reasons for making such a broken line as the boundary became. One is that the McLean County managers, being Whigs, did not wish to cndanger the small Whig majority of the county, and allowed several Democratic families to remain in Woodford, taking just enough Whigs to leave that party in the majority in McLean. The other story is that, in making the division, the Democratic families preferred to remain in Woodford, which was likely to be of their own faith, while the Whigs came as willingly into the Whig county of McLean. Certain it is, however, that the residents of Kansas Township have not remained satisfied with the county in which they live. Most of them, with those inhabitants of Montgomery who live south of the Mackinaw, are in sympathy

with McLean. They trade mostly at Danvers, Hudson or Bloomington. In time of high water, they cannot cross the river to reach Metamora, their county seat, without considerable trouble, though since the erection of a bridge at Forneyville, in Montgomery, and one in the northern part of Kansas, they are much better accommodated than formerly

A majority of the legal voters of the town of Kansas petitioned the Woodford County Board of Supervisors, September 12, 1873, to be annexed to McLean County, giving good reasons for the change. Woodford County was not willing this should be done, though McLean County would no doubt agree to the proposition at any time.

If a railroad is ever built through this township from Bloomington to Eureka, as has at times seemed probable, it will render it easy for many of the inhabitants in Woodford, who reside south of the Mackinaw, to travel conveniently toward their county seat, while the White Oak people can much more readily reach Bloomington.

Within the last few years, the village of Oak Grove is starting up in the central part of White Oak. We find there now the Town Hall, built in the early part of 1878; the post office, two stores, a hotel, a wagon-shop, two blacksmith-shops, a physician, and about twelve families are residing there. All this has happened within the last three or four years, and the indications are very favorable for the building of quite a nice little village, either with or without a railroad. The only wonder is that a village has not been commenced here earlier, as the wants of the surrounding country will easily sustain quite a town. There is no trading-place of any importance nearer than eight or ten miles, and the roads are often so bad that the necessities of a farming community require towns much nearer together than we have had them in the past. Oak Grove may be regarded as

a permanent town. It will draw to itself most of the elements from the rich surrounding country that go toward the formation of a village, and will become a town of considerable importance.

Were we writing the history of the towns of Danvers and Montgomery as well as of White Oak, we should give a sketch of the Rock Creek Agricultural Society, whose remarkable success in establishing a well-attended fair, away from any town or village, has attracted a good deal of attention. These fair-grounds are southwest of the town of White Oak a few miles, but the citizens of this town take an interest in the institution.

White Oak Township was organized in the spring of 1858, the first election having been held April 6, 1858. The name of the town was a fortunate selection, as thereby this fraction of a township, the smallest in the county, has obtained a name that entitles it to the historical record of the whole grove. White Oak has always possessed a large share of influence in the councils of the county at large-much more than some of the newer and larger townships have been able to secure. The town has had no debt, or, if it ever bad any, it was only of a very temporary nature. In 1878 was built a town hall, at the village of Oak Grove, White Oak being one of the few towns in this county that can boast of this useful public building.

At the township election, April 1, 1879, Albert Wright was chosen Supervisor; Samuel Lantz, Town Clerk; W. H. Wright, Assessor ; James E. Harrison, Collector, and Jesse Chism, Road Commissioner.

White Oak started its free schools in 1837. Reuben Carlock was the first Town School Treasurer, and continued in office fourteen years. The first School Trustees in

the same year, were Isaac Allen, Josiah Brown, Ormon Robinson and Elisha Dixon. At first, there was but one school, which was attended by an average of fifty scholars. It was seven years before the next school was started. At that time, the school matters were managed in the school district of what is now the two towns of Kansas and White Oak acting as one township; at present, in White Oak alone. There are now five school districts, though some of the support comes from adjoining towns. The number of pupils enrolled in this township alone, in 1878, was 123. The total number of children in the school was 144, being about one-third of the total population.

The amount of the township school fund was $2,858. The estimated value of the school property is $3,150. The present School Treasurer is Samuel Lantz. The total amount of money expended for school purposes in the year ending September 31, 1878, was $1,410. White Oak is a very small town, and, of course, does not furnish large figures, but we notice that if the children of Bloomington attended school in the same ratio, it would require desk-room for at least 1,000 more pupils.

White Oak is a Republican town. In the olden times, it was a Whig neighborhood. It is noted, however, for the spirit of toleration existing between the members of the different political parties. This town sent a large number of soldiers to the late war, several of whom laid down their lives in the service of their country. Could the full war-record of White Oak be compiled, it would be of more interest than anything we have given in these pages, and would show that its sons have been heroes in the cause in which they volunteered. There are living in this township quite a number of the veterans of the war, who are among its most respected citizens.

We have mentioned that White Oak is rather remarkable for the piety of the families within its borders, and we might state that, from its early settlement, this remark would hold true. Religious meetings were started early, and at first at private houses. The first sermon was preached at the residence of Mr. Smith Denman, by Rev. Mr. Royal, a Methodist minister. The second was by a man of the name of Beach, a Baptist, who also preached at Mr. Denman's. In the grove near this residence, a great many camp-meetings have been held at different times.

The first church in the township was the Christian Church, at the edge of the grove in the northwest part of the town, and was erected about 1850. after this, the Methodist Church was built near Mr. Denman's, at the edge of the grove.

Some time after, another Christian Church was built, about half a mile east of Abraham W. Carlock's. All of these churches are near the township lines, and as near the county line, and quite a portion of their support comes from Woodford County. They help give White Oak its good name, and we are glad they are on the right side of the line.

A few miles south of the grove is the church of the Presbyterians, which is the most central, perhaps, of any in the town. Near Winton Carlock's is the Mt. Zion Church of the United Brethren, making the fifth in White Oak Township. The total value of these churches is over $10,000. They will seat more people than the total population of the township, something that can be said of the churches of but few towns in the county. There are a number of families of Unitarians, Universalists, a few Second Adventists, and some members of other denominations in the township.

White Oak being a farming township, with only one small village, barely three years old, bas, of course, no manufactures. As early as 1833, one of its citizens

A few years

Thomas Dixon-built a mill on the Mackinaw, which did some service. This mill, however, was not in this township. Some years ago, the steam saw and grist mill, known as the “ Western Mills,” were built in the township, near its northern line, the only manufacturing establishment in the township of much importance. They have never proved very profitable.

We find the town of White Oak may be classed as one of the most prosperous of any in this part of the State. When we make this statement, we include its moral, social and financial condition, all of which are on a remarkably good basis. Our report of its early history and present state may be imperfect, but we have endeavored to make it clear to our readers that White Oak is, in every respect, a good town.


Dry Grove Township was so named from a grove in the southwestern part. This grove was long known as Dry Grove. Who first gave it the name, we do not know.. All the groves in the county were named early. The reason for calling this Dry Grove may probably be found in the fact that it is on bigh ground, without any stream of water running through it. The township bears the same name that was given it at the first organization in 1857. It lies in the northwestern part of the county, and includes one Congressional town. It is bounded on the north by White Oak, on the east by Normal, on the south by Dale, and on the west by Danvers Township. It is known as Town 24 north, Range 1 east of the Third Principal Meridian. As will be seen by this the Third Principal Meridian forms its western boundary, separating it from Danvers Township.

Besides the grove mentioned above, there is another in the southeastern part of the township, called Twin Grove. These skirt the southern border, forming almost an unbroken line of timber nearly across the southern side. On the north there is no native forest; but the many clusters of forest-trees planted by the industrious farmer, together with the orchards, give the country the appearance of a woodland. This is upland prairie. It lies in very good shape for farming and pasturing. A few flat places where the water might stand, have been drained at a small cost. Corn and oats are raised to a considerable extent; hay and meadows are abundant; stock is raised largely. On the south side, along the timber, the products are the same with some wheat ; but wheat is not extensively cultivated. The old settlers tell us of the wheat raised forty and fifty years ago, but the country has undergone a change since that time in regard to the adaptability to wheat-growing. This seems to be the history of all new settlements. The black rich soil that one sees in passing through this township, is enough to make an old farmer feel like stopping and going to work. There certainly can be no discount on the fertility of the soil. One branch of Sugar Creek takes its rise in this township. There are numerous branches of this stream from the center, east and northeast. They unite in one and leave on the south side near the center of Section 33. There is also a small stream flowing northwest from the northern part, and one on the west rises near the railroad, and flows in a zigzag course to near the northwest corner. The Indianapolis, Bloomington & Western Railroad enters the township one-fourth mile west of the southeast corner of Section 35.

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