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

church organization. An association, bearing the name of the cemetery, has it in charge.

In the history of this church, there have been several stirring revivals. The one of most remarkable results was that known as Berkholder's revival. This took place soon after the church was built. There were more than one hundred joined the church during those meetings. There were seventy received into full connection on a single day. Lately, there has been quite an awakening, under the efforts of Col. Johnson, of Bloomington, who is the present Pastor.

[blocks in formation]

As nearly

swung from the

The first settlers at Dry Grove had to endure the usual hardships for lack of mills, shops, and such other enterprises of a public character that are always necessary for the happiness and enjoyment of any community. The lack of milling facilities was felt more keenly, perhaps, than the want of any other single thing. The great distances which it was necessary to traverse in order to reach even a water-mill were enough to discourage the most determined. During the deep snow of 1830 and 1831, all were compelled to provide for themselves. The particulars of this ever-to-be remembered winter have been so often rehearsed that it is needless to dwell upon them here. It seems that this taught all to be prepared to make their own meal. The usual sight of the front yard included a mortar and sweep for the pounding of corn. all families lived in the woods, a mortar was generally made by chopping down a tree, cutting the stump off so as to make it level, and then burning a basin from the top. In this the corn was put, and pounded by a heavy pole with an iron wedge in the end, and

upper end of a sweep similar to the kind often seen used in drawing water from a well. These were common all over this country, and were made so by such times as occurred during the winter of 1830 and 1831.

The first to erect a mill of any kind within the present limits of Dry Grove Town. ship was Matthew Harbard. This was a horse-power “corn-cracker.” It was on the Daniel Munsell place. Here the farmers brought their corn and had it ground. They had no sieves. The manner of separating the hulls from the meal was varied and often unique. It was useless to bring wheat to these mills, for they " could not do the subject justice.” It is said that sometimes wheat was ground in a coffee-mill, if the family happened to be so fortunate as to own one. Those were the mills that were nailed to the wall. The next mill was built where King's mill now stands. pied the old red building which still stands on the same spot. This was a saw-mill, and was not erected until long after the early settlement. At a still more recent date, Mr. King built a large flouring-mill, with three sets of buhrs, at the same place. For some time he did a large business. A few years ago, he took out his machinery and moved it to Kansas. The building and the apparatus for sawing stood unused all the time. But we learn that Mr. King has recently returned, and expects soon to have the mill running again.

The first blacksmith-shop was operated, at an early date, by James Gilson, on his brother's farm on the north side of Dry Grove. He discontinued the shop and left the country after a short time. He was considered a first-class smith. Old Mr. Mason had a large family of boys. A story is told by Mr. Hinshaw illustrating the remarkable success Mr. Mason had in bringing up a number of hands to help him subdue the wilderness

It occu


and make it blossom as the rose.” Mr. Hinshaw says that in passing through the Grove he came upon Mr. Mason and nine sons, who were all chopping on one log. The father had taken his station at the butt of the log, and arranged his sons in the order of their ages ou the log with him. The oldest was next the father, and the youngest at the top of the tree. These were all large enough to do good work, and enjoyed themselves in a race to see who would be the soonest done. What a number of axes that man must have had! And what a serious time they must have had when they all began to grind !


His great

In the Black Hawk war, Dry Grove was well represented. Col. William McCullough enlisted as a private in the company commanded by Merritt Covel. courage, spirit and daring are well known by all. James Phillips, Thomas Brown and Berry Wyatt were under Col. McClure. Col. McCullough was on the battle-field of Stillman's defeat, and there supplied himself with a gun which a hostile Indian was wont to use against the whites. McClure's command did not reach the scene of action in time “to save the day” por participate in the flight. We are thus saved the pain of chronicling any disaster to these men on that occasion. But they were in the field, ready to go at their Captain's command, and the simple fact that they had no opportunity of dealing the enemy a heavy blow, should not detract from them any honors. They went at the call of an emergency and left their friends and relatives, not knowing whether the Indians would visit their home while they were gone, or whether their own scalps would be trophies strung to some chieftain's neck.

In the war with Mexico, Dry Grove claims honors, too. Among those who went to Southern battle-grounds, we learned the names of Benjamin Wyatt, A. J. Mason, John Cranmer, Allin Palmer, J.S. W. Johnson and Thomas Johnson. These all went, and returned again unhurt by Mexican balls, and unharmed by the ravages of disease. The call of 1861 met a hearty response, and, during the four years of war that followed, the sons of her soil fought in many a battle and bled on many a field. Robert Johnson died in the hospital; John Brooks died in camp; William Winn also died from the effects of disease ; Samuel Randall was thrown from a boat and drowned. If there were others who offered their lives in support of a cause dear to their hearts, we were unable to learn their names. There has been a goodly number of men in every one of the three wars which have occurred since the first settlement of the township. May the memories of the men who responded so readily at every call for the defense of kindred and home, long be cherished by those for whom they hazarded their lives, and may their deeds of valor be told to generations yet unborn.

Politically, Dry Grove has always been Democratic, until within the last few years. But for some time, the Republicans have been in the ascendency. In township elections, party-lines are not so closely drawn.


The first road through the township was the State Road from Danville to Fort Clark (Peoria). This was located by Robert McClure, Daniel Francis and a Mr. Phillips. It is followed very closely by the I., B. & W. Railroad. It crosses the southwest corner of the township, and is one of the most important roads in it. It is commonly called the Peoria road, and is a much frequented thoroughfare. All the overland travel toward the West passes this way. It was on this road that Peter McCullough kept his “way-side inn." Until the building of the I., B. & W. Railroad, in 1870, a regular line of coaches was run across the country from Bloomington west. This road is kept in good repair, and, as it passes obliquely west and north, it furnishes the shortest route to points off in that direction. Another important road crosses the northeastern corner of the township. It leads from Bloomington northwesterly. It passes obliquely through Sections 24, 14, 11, 10 and 3. The road is thrown up, being pretty well graded and drained, where draining is necessary. Beside these diagonal roads, most of the section lines and some of the half-section lines are regularly authorized highways. They are kept in good repair. There are many small streams in the township, but these are nearly all bridged. Where the Peoria road crosses Sugar Creek they have an iron bridge.

ORGANIZATION OF THE TOWNSHIP. Before the adoption of the township system, this lay in Bloomington and Concord Precincts. The early officers were not distinct from the officers of those precincts. On the adoption of this system, December 3, 1857, Town 24 north, Range 1 east, was called Dry Grove, and constituted a township for political purposes. At the first election, held April 6, 1858, the following officers were elected: Supervisor, Elias Yoder; Town Clerk, Alexander Forbes; Assessor, Samuel C. Deal; Collector, Abraham Harrison; Overseer of the Poor, David Sill; Commissioners of Highways, Eleazer Munsell, Casper W. Harlin, John L. Shorthouse ; Constables, William D. Harbard, Michael S. Sill; Justices of the Peace, Mahlon S. Wilson, Samuel H. Brown; Overseers of Highways, Simeon Lantz, J. Phillips, Roswell Munsell.


Although Money Creek Township was settled very early, before there had been any considerable settlement in what is now McLean County, and almost as soon as the advent of John Hendrix to Blooming Grove, no villages now dot its prairies or hover along its streams. There is not even a post office within the present limits of the township, and very little remains of Clarksville, the only place that has ever assumed the dignity of even a hamlet.

Money Creek Township is located in the northern part of the county, being in the second tier from the north. It is directly north of the center. It is bounded as follows: On the north by Gridley, on the east by Lexington, on the south by Towanda, and on the west by Hudson Townships. It comprises one Congressional town, and is designated, Town 25 north, Range 3 east of the Third Principal Meridian. The soil is rich and productive throughout the greater portion of the township. The surface is covered by a considerable belt of timber. In the southwestern corner, and from the center, extending southeasterly, there are some fine prairies. There is, also, a small portion of prairie-land in the northeastern corner. Money Creek enters the township from Towanda at Section 32; after passing in a north, and slightly northwestern direction, it leaves in Section 18, but curves back east into the township again; finally leaving between Sections 6 and 7. Mackinaw Creek crosses the northeastern corner of the township, flowing northwest. It enters at the southeast corner of Section 12, and leaves near the middle of Section 5. Along Money Creek and Mackinaw, there


before it was cleared 'away somewhat, very fine timber for this country. The old sawmill on Money Creek did a vast amount of sawing in an early day, and there is considerable timber yet. This accounts for the early settlements made here. This township is also crossed by the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad, which enters at the southwest corner of on 33, and leaves at the middle of east side Section 13. The principal products are corn and oats. Wheat is cultivated to a limited degree. Hogs and cattle are raised to a considerable extent.


“Old Louis Soward,” as he is universally known among the few who remember him, came to this country from Ohio. He was one of those jolly old frontiersmen who enjoy themselves best away from the haunts of civilization. One to whom the trials and vicissitudes of pioneer life were preferable to the restraints of more advanced society. He was a great hunter. In those days deer were plenty; they might be seen in droves at almost any time. Turkeys abounded in the woods of the Mackinaw and Money Creek. Wolves nightly indulged in their melancholy lamentations over the scarcity of prey. Bees, too, were plenty in the woods. “Uncle Louis” was a great hand at scenting bee-trees, and often brought home vast quantities of sweets for family use. He was a great story-teller. Many of his stories are repeated around the firesides on Money Creek, and many a hearty laugh is had at the ready wit of this early pioneer. Mr. Soward had a family of four boys and three girls; but with all the family, he left the township at quite an early day, for the wilds of Wisconsin. The exact date of Mr. Soward's arrival is not now known. It was prior to the settlement, farther up, by the Trimmer family, and as they came in 1826, the Sowards must have come as early as 1825. It is thought by some that they came even earlier.

Jacob Harness, a brother-in-law of Louis Soward, came, also, from Obio, and, it is thought, about the same time. He sold his claim to John Pennell, another Ohio man, and moved to Mackinaw Creek, in Lexington Township.

In 1826, Jacob Spawr, then a young man, took a claim on Money Creek. He worked for Mrs. Trimmer, who was then a widow, and, in the fall of the same year, married her daughter. His father, Valentine Spawr, came to the creek the next year. The Spawrs were from Pennsylvania. Valentine Spawr had been a soldier under Gen. Wayne.

In 1829, John Steers and the Van Buskirk family came to Money Creek. Van Buskirk lived here until he died. Some of his descendants are still living on Money Creek. A daughter married Mr. Henry Moats, and lives just west of the schoolhouse in District No.3. In the spring of 1830, Mr. M. N. Barnard moved in and bought Mr. Steers' claim.

In the spring of 1830, the Moats family came. Jacob Moats was born in Pennsylvania September 16, 1785. His father was a German, who came from Germany and settled in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. When Jacob Moats was still a young man, the family moved to Licking County, Ohio. They were all farmers. There Jacob married Sarah Hinthorn, who then resided in the same county of Ohio. Miss Hinthorn was born in West Virginia, near Wheeling. When forty-four years old, Jacob Moats started West with his large family of nine children. It took five weeks to reach the Big Grove. Here they stopped for a time. They rented a house of David Smith, who afterward moved to Smith's Grove, in Towanda Township.

« AnteriorContinuar »