History of Pike County, Illinois
William A. Grimshaw was an attorney and politician in Pike County, Illinois. William migrated to the area when it was still a frontier; his life and accomplishments are described on a companion webpage. This subsidiary webpage contains the full text of an address1 given by William on the occasion of the centennial of U.S. independence, July 4, 1876.
Thanks go to Holly Ann Burt for posting the full text of William’s address on her webpage. The text is presented below as shown on Holly’s webpage, which is at the following address:
HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
Address of the Committee of Invitation
Pittsfield, Pike County, Illinois, June 3, 1876.
TO THE PEOPLE OF PIKE COUNTY:
At a meeting held at the court house in Pittsfield, on the Sixth day of May last, it was determined that the approaching Fourth of July should be celebrated in an appropriate manner, on the Public Square in Pittsfield, by a basket picnic, with addresses, music, and fireworks at night, and the undersigned were appointed a committee to extend an invitation to the entire county to take part in the celebration.
In discharging the duty devolved upon us by the action of the meeting, we respectfully call your attention to the Following resolution, which recently passed the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, at Washington:
“BE IT RESOLVED, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America: That it be and is hereby recommended by the Senate and House of Representatives to the people of the several States that they assemble in the several counties and towns on the approaching anniversary of our National Independence, and that they cause to have delivered on such day an historical sketch of said county or town from its formation, and that a copy of said sketch may be filed in print or manuscript in the Clerk’s office of said County, and an additional copy in print or manuscript be filed in the office of the Librarian of Congress to the intent that a complete record may be thus obtained of the progress of our institutions during the first centennial of their existence.”
In pursuance of the action of Congress the President of the United States and the Governor of this ‘State have issued proclamations, requesting the people of each County to meet at suitable places, and celebrate this first Centennial year of our national existence, in the manner in the resolution we have quoted, suggested.
Pike, as the mother of all the counties North and West of the Illinois River, has a history replete with interest, and it will be but discharging a just obligation due to those who shall follow us upon the stage of action, if, while meeting to celebrate the Centennial on the coming Fourth, that history shall be presented in such form as to perpetuate it for the future.
In discharging the duties assigned to us let us call your attention to the importance of the day we propose to celebrate. One hundred years ago our forefathers. oppressed by a British Government then ruled by a tyrannous King, conceived the bold idea of forming an independent government for themselves. The principal theory of government up to that time had been that the powers of government were inherent in the ruler, who ruled by divine right, and that the people derived their rights from the government. The founders of our admirable system reversed the whole order of government, and declared that the people were capable of self-government, that all power was inherent in them, and that governments derive all just power from the consent of the governed.
Page 4 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
They made the government the creature of the people, and limited it to the exercise of such powers only as should be delegated to it by the people. Under it the rulers and officers are servants of the people. Thus the people are sovereign and rule themselves through officers chosen by them for that purpose.
By the Constitution, which is a delegation of powers to the general government, our people have secured more religious and political liberty than is enjoyed by any other government on earth.
That you fully appreciate the blessings of such a government, and revere the memory of the good and wise men who established and defended it in its infancy, is fully attested by the patriotic devotion with which you defended it when in peril. One hundred years of the practical workings of our government have fully proved the wisdom of its founders.
Though many things have occurred to mar our happiness in our existence as a government, we confidently repeat that today we enjoy the most free, least oppressive, and most perfect system of government of any people on the earth.
In its practical workings there may be and doubtless are defects, not attributable to the system, but to its execution, but the remedy for all such defects is in the hands of the people, whose government it is, and if they do not remedy them they should not complain. All that in needed is virtue, intelligence, and honesty, to make the government all it was destined to he by its founders.
In view of these facts, fellow-citizens of Pike, may we not urge you to renew your devotion to the country by laying aside all other business and coming up to the county seat on the Fourth of July next, EN MASSE, to celebrate the One Hundreth Anniversary of our National Independence.
Especially do we extend an invitation to the early settlers of our county to be present and to take part in the exercises of the day. As pioneers in the great work of subduing and bringing into cultivation the fair land wherein we dwell, of establishing thousands of happy homes, and creating the religious, social and material prosperity that exist within our borders, they will meet with a hearty greeting from their successors on that day. Let them then come, and witness the outpouring of a people who will on that occasion come from the hill-tops, plains and valleys, that they have known but as the homes of the savages, man and beast.
In pursuance of the power conferred upon the Committee, they have chosen as the historian of the county for that day, the Hon. Wm. A. Grimshaw, himself one of the earliest settlers in the county, and who, by reason thereof, and his eminent ability, is most fully qualified for the position.
The Committee would most respectfully urge upon the citizens of each town to proceed immediately to the selection of a town historian to the end that, with the general history of the county, to be prepared by the County Historian, that of each town as a separate municipal organization may be preserved for the future Centennial Historian.
C. L. HIGBEE, Chairman.
WM. A. GRIMSHAW.
JAMES S. IRVIN.
WM. R. ARCHER.
J. M. BUSH.
RICHARD M. ATKINSON.
Page 5 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
Ladies, Gentlemen and Fellow Citizens:
With gratitude to Almighty God, who ruleth the destinies of nations, as of individuals, we welcome this our nation’s birthday.
This Centennial day brings evidence to us of the wisdom and foresight of the Fathers of this National Government.
How proud we all should and do feel that we are one illustrious, powerful nation, and not divided into jealous, intriguing states; as a people, free as the air we breathe, we are yet bound with the cords of Nationality to the great idea of our Fathers, expressed by a Patriot, “The Union, one and inseparable.” Free as to all our individual rights and with no encroachment upon our rights is citizens of Illinois, or of any other State. Subject to the universal law of civilization, which requires restraint on the actions of individuals, in furtherance and protection of the general goad of our fellow men. Long may we love, cherish and protect our United States, and love with our hearts’ devotion the Flag of Our Fathers, the emblem of our great and glorious nation, renowned to earth’s remotest bounds.
The office of historian for this occasion was conferred by the Committee, appointed by a meeting, as will be seen by the published report thereof, to be annexed to the proceedings of this day.
Sensible of the high honor which the office of historian confers, I shrink from the effort to discharge it; by many it will be said these are hut dry details, such is often the task of the historian, and in as much as the scope of my duty, on this occasion, is circumscribed by the reduced limits of Pike County, as compared with its original boundaries, the subjects of greatest interest are in a measure withdrawn from our consideration in this sketch, and yet it is justifiable to claim for Pike County parr of the history of her former territory, now embraced in towns and cities and counties of high repute, of great extent, solid in wealth, and leading in all the incidents which make conspicuous and renowned the present social and political position of a part of old Pike, now beyond her limits.
In this Centennial year we may indulge in patriotism, and vet in days gone by, it is evident from the name of our loved, beautiful and favored county, that upon it was bestowed a name worthy of its present high standing, as a part of the great and fertile State of Illinois; the limits of the original territory of Pike County are not excelled in scenery, fertility, healthfulness and in the various resources which serve to form a great, civilized country, in this advanced age. The name of our county was given in honor of the gallant General Pike, for whom Pike’s Peak is called.
We have assembled today to contemplate the stupendous events of a Century.
Our nation, renowned as far as fame has spread, unsurpassed in all the essentials of greatness, by any country on the Globe, is but in her early life, compared with the nations of the old world.
One hundred years ago the thirteen feeble colonies entered upon a desperate political enterprise. How discerning the great men who projected the government which supplanted the old Monarchy and exchanged a government by and for the people, a representative Democracy, far the old form of King, Lords and Commons.
Grand is the success of the United States of North America in her system of government and in all that exalts a great, prosperous and free nation. Imagine the scene if the heroic, stately Washington, the sage
Page 6 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
Jefferson, the wise Adamses, the eloquent Patrick Henry and all the men of civic and military renown, could now visit us. they who laid up in store far us, or won by their mighty prowess, guided bp God’s goad providence, the inestimable blessings we enjoy. Their deeds immortalized them and conferred on us all (he greatness of the past, since the memorable day of July 4.1776.
THE LIMITS OF THIS HISTORY
We are precluded from going into details as much as we could desire. This history is prepared in the intervals of those pursuits which could not be deferred, and it is impossible to do justice to the entire field which might he embraced. We must content ourselves with a rapid review of the most prominent incidents and abstain from writing extended biographies or even attempting a full history, many subjects will unavoidably be ommitted, numerous persons of prominence will not be spoken of.
The aim has been to give so much of the lives of prominent men, especially those who served the county, state and nation as will illustrate the history of Pike County Ind to some degree present the claims of the most active or prominent in forming its history.
The citizens of this county have always been marked for a love of our national government, for participation in all state measures to promote the common good of Illinois.
With one brief exception, the period of the Vigilance Committee, local government has always been of an orderly character. The brief excitement of that period led to more efficient laws for the protection of society and thus good came out of evil. The escape of criminals from punishment led to the organization of the Vigilance Committee. “From seeming evil still educing good.” Tragic scenes are not of this history.
No fratricidal strife, no display of brothers in battle array, with deadly cannon and all the dread habiliments of war are portrayed here. The life of our citizens has been with few exceptions that of peaceful farmers and townsmen, busy in the affairs of domestic life. Thus your historian has no startling tales to tell.
Still as the current of year own gentle river Illinois, with a few wells in the stream of life, when wars, waged beyond the limits of our present county called off our men to war, has been the life of your people. Industry has prevailed. Education has had its marked influence and the holy gospel, taught in its beauty and simplicity, has pervaded your every walk in life. Crime has, notwithstanding been perpetrated, to be brought generally to condign punishment. Such is generally the end of those who violate laws, human and divine.
PIKE COUNTY, HER EXTENT AND ORGANIZATION
This county, once embracing the fairest portions of the Eden-like State of Illinois, yet retaining in her Limits land beautiful to look upon, desirable to inhabit and famed far her fair daughters, her gallant sons, prosperous farmers and mechanics, able professional men and legislators,
her present territory equal yet almost to some of the old thirteen states, owes much if not all of thin to the patriotism and foresight of the Revolutionary fathers.
Contemplate the vastness of Pike county, as she was, when organized by the act of the Legislature of 1821 in these words:
Page 7 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
AN ACT TO FORM A NEW COUNTY ON THE BOUNTY LANDS–
APPROVED JANUARY 31, 1821.
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois. represented in the general assembly, That all that tract of country within tile following boundaries, to-wit: beginning at the mouth of the Illinois river and running thence up the middle of said river to the fork of the name, thence up the south fork of said river until it strikes the state line of Indiana, thence north with said line to the north boundary line of this state, thence nest with said line to the west boundary line of this state and thence with said line to the place of beginning, shall constitute a separate county, to be called Pike.
“Oh Christ! it is a delicious sight to see,
What heaven hath done for this delicious land
That fruits of fragrance blush on every tree;
What goodly prospects o’er the hills expand.”
To repeat the extent of the boundaries. On the south, begin at the junction of the Illinois .Ind Mississippi rivers, thence follow the Illinois to the fork of the same, meaning the Kankakee, thence to the line of the state of Indiana, thence North and West embracing the territory front Chicago, following on the line of Wisconsin to the Mississippi river, including the famed lead mines of Galena, and to the channel of the Mississippi, thence descending to the place of beginning.
First note the beautiful, still gliding river, the Illinois, then observe the majestic Father of Waters. Traverse all this territory, great in extent, formerly the home of savage tribes of Indians; the land marked by the tread of the buffalo and dotted over with the graves and mounds, the relies of extinct races. the fierce brute creation and game and fish abounding, prairies illimitable, adorned with flowers of gorgeous hue, fruits delicious in profusion and great variety, forests of vast size filled with gigantic trees and of many species, rivers bounding unfettered by man’s contrivances, then no locks and damn existed thereon, fish in myriads were then the dwellers in those rivers. and these all existed in 1821 when Pike county was struck off by name from the older settlements and the few counties then existing in Illinois.
The territory of Pike county, as laid off in 1821, was cut off from Madison county. The counties then existing and created in January, 1821, were, Sangamo, Greene, Madison, Pike, St. Clair, Bond, Montgomery, Fayette, Washington, Monroe, Randolph, Jackson, Union, Alexander, Clark, Crawford, Lawrence, Edwards, Wayne, White, Hamilton, Jefferson, Franklin, Johnson, Gallatin, Pope. all South and East of the river Illinois excepting Pike, twenty-six in all. About one-half the century since our Nation was pronounced by the Declaration of Independence to be free and independent has elapsed since the organization, and see how changed Pike county is. Behold the marvelous picture, unsurpassed in history; if we contemplate Pike county, as its original territory was, and view its almost superhuman bounds to its present condition.
THE POPULATION OF ILLINOIS
Illinois was created a territory, off Indiana territory, in 1809, in 1818 a State. We are now living under the third Constitution, Primed for our guidance by the voluntary act of the people. In 1810 the census of the inhabitants of Illinois was but twelve thousand, two hundred and eighty-
Page 8 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
two; in 1829, 55,211; in 1830, 157,44g [sic]; in 1835, 272,427; in 1870, over two and one-half millions by the last national census.
About 1835 the Illinois & Michigan Canal was arresting the attention of emigrants and speculators, it being a startling novelty, but wise public work. Cook and Duncan, of Illinois, deserve the laurels for this grand work, thereby uniting the waters of Lake Michigan and the Gulf of Mexico.
Originally this canal was about one hundred miles in length. It serves a greet purpose, economizing and facilitating the traffic in stone, lumber and other heavy articles. This canal has been extended and deepened since its first coming into use.
In 1830 the population of Pike county, in its present limits, was 3,386; in 1835 it had more than doubled, then mostly composed of a farming population, the towns up to that date being few and small. Now our population approximates thirty-eight thousand, and yet we have no large city, but many interesting towns and villages.
Up to 1830 the most noted places or towns in Pike county, before its subdivision, were Peoria, then known as Fort Clark; Warsaw, then called Fort Edwards. Quincy was a very small place, and other towns, non thriving county seats, were just starting. In 1830 Cook county was laid off, it once being embraced in Pike county.
There was in the limits of Cook county, an Indian locality, Chigaoux, so called as early as 1726; thus you see we may trice earlier settlers than the Rosses, and Wheelocks, of Atlas, and Garret Van Duesen, of Blue river, the latter the forerunner of Jonathan Frye as a miller.
The Indians say of the place we now call Chicago, “the first white man who settled here was a negro.” His name was Jean Baptiste Point Au Sable, a native of St. Domingo, who went to Chicago in 1796; this man afterwards died in Peoria. At Peoria, also, French settlement antedated the settlement of the present Pike county.
Observe what a grand array of counties has sprung up from the subdivision of the original territory of Pike county. How historic the names of these counties! See the map of the old Military Tract, once the almost entire source of Revenue to the State, by its lend taxes, beginning with Calhoun and running up to Warren, Mercer, Henry and Knox on the North. Some of the coonties in that tract have been subdivided, as Schuyler had Brown set off from her, Warren was divided and Henderson created. Putnam was a large county, lying on both sides of the Illinois river, and Stark was cut off therefrom.
Eighteen other counties hare been created from old Pike North of the “Military Tract.” In 1832 the Sacs and Fox Indians devastated a portion of the country from Galena to the Yellow Banks, or Oquawka, in Warren, now Henderson, that being the Black Hawk war. Settlements were very sparse then from Galena to Quincy, and also across to Chicago. Now see the cities and towns, populous, beautiful, full of energy and industry, and the farms unsurpassed in fertility and comfort.
To revert, in 1827 the Winnebago Indians by an outbreak near Galena, on Fevre river, got up a little war, soon ended. At those dates Rock Island was a village, Dixon not existing, Galena a small place, but the largest North of St. Louis, and larger than Chicago up to 1836, at the sale of the canal lands. Galena was famed then more than now for her lead mines. Then there was no Moline and her steel plough factory, and wooden mould board ploughs were the great ploughs of the day.
Time and space forbid to recall all the progress of every part of old
Page 9 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
Pike, the census of the counties, cities and towns in the territory once Pike, but now in the newer counties would disclose vast growth in all the essentials of a prosperous country. Chicago, Quincy, Peoria, and the other cities outstripping in growth anything preceding them on this continent.
Let us confine ourselves for a time to the actual territory now within this county, and consider its progress and present condition.
THE FIRST COUNTY SEAT
This was at Cole’s Grove (now obsolete) but near Gilead, in the limits of Calhoun county, there was held the first Probate Court on the 23rd of May, 1821, and the first Circuit Court for Pike County, John Reynolds as Judge, beginning on the 1st day of October, 1821. At that court a noted and peculiar trial took place of two Indians for murder, and the following full record of the cane in now to be seen at Pittsfield, in Volume 1, Page 4, of the Records of the Circuit Court.
WEDNESDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 30, 1821.
The People, &c., vs. Pemesan and Shonwennekeh (Two Indians).
The jury in this cause came into Court and returned the following verdict, to-wit: We have agreed in our verdict, according to the evidence before us, that Pemesan, otherwise called Traveler, is guilty of manslaughter, and that the other, called Spice Bush, is not guilty. It is therefore ordered and judged by the Court that the said Shonwennekeh, otherwise called Spice Bush, go hence and be wholly discharged and acquitted. And it is therefore further ordered and adjudged by said Court, that the said Pemesan, otherwise called Traveler, make his fine to the People of this State in the sum of twenty-five cents, and be imprisoned for the term of twenty-four hours.
The earliest record book of the proceedings of the County Commissioners, prior to the June Term, 1832, is lost. A fire took place at Atlas which consumed some records and files of the Courts, and it is probable the aforesaid record was then lost.
SECOND COUNTY SEAT
Atlas was the second county seat and thereat was erected a Court House of framework, but of no architectural pretensions, which never was finished as a Court House, being used as such in an incomplete state. There was also a small but solid log jail, a terror to evildoers, but not often tenanted.
FIRST SETTLERS OF ATLAS
It was settled by New Englanders in 1821. In the summer of 1825 the town was laid out, its earliest settlers being Leonard Ross, who had been a captain in the U. S. service during the war of 1812 with England, and his brothers William, John, Clarence, Henry J., the latter being for fifteen years the leading physician in Pike, and extending his ride to other counties. He was an excellent physician, a genial friend and honest man; he died in 1836, leaving no children.
The late Colonel William Ross was one of those pioneers of Atlas. These Ross brothers were all married men and had most estimable and
Page 10 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
refined families. Dexter Wheelock with his wife, settled at Atlas about the time of the Ross family arriving. He had been during the war of 1812 a drummer, and was a very active, generous man, and for a time the hotel keeper and had a family and other grocery store. He is long dead, his wife and a son and daughter yet survive; and no more estimable man of the early born settlers yet lives than John G. Wheelock, the aforesaid son, now one of the Sny Levee Commissioners.
There was another conspicuous character among those early settlers of Atlas. Benjamin Barney, who was a man of great physical powers, of strong natural sense, benevolent, patriotic, not learned in book lore, but wise in that which made him a leader in trying times; he was long the County Blacksmith, and that meant the only one in fifty miles; sober, industrious, always at his post. His tales of early adventure are marvellous, and yet undoubtedly true.
Colonel Wm. Ross as aid to General Whitesides, and Ben Barney, afterwards Colonel of the 17th Illinois Militia, both took part in the Black Hawk war in 1832, and that campaign and the battle of Buena Vista made Zachary Taylor president.
Colonel Ross died within a short period. Colonel Barney yet survives in a vigorous old age.
We will speak further of the Ross brothers. Leonard was Sheriff, and William was until sometime after Pittsfield was laid out, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Probate Judge, and County Court, as well as Postmaster at Atlas, for a time the only post office in the present part of Pike county; there was thereafter up to 1833 the post office at Clio, at Charles Stratton’s, and the post office at Bay, south of Pleasant Hill.
Colonel Ross was prominent as a representative from this county in the Legislature in 1836, at the time of the unfortunate, illadvised Internal Improvement system, which fell through, entailing a debt of millions of dollars on the young, struggling State, and yet that is all paid. He was afterwards state senator, and was noted for his shrewd public spirit and for many donations. He was not the originator of the internal improvement system; the Road Law of 1835, so called, which was of value to Pike, was the work of Colonel Ross.
At Atlas, prior to Pittsfield’s location, was a cabinet shop of Mr. Branson, and Stephen R. Watson, yet in life near Barry, was the tailor who dressed the men in Sunday best. An old resident, now of Pittsfield, who is alive and upwards of eighty years of age, James Ross, had the first turners lathe and a cabinet shop; he was also a constable at in early day and was in the Black Hawk war. It was better than a farce to hear Ross tell his yarns in his palmy days; he was the Baron Munchausen then.
Ebenezer Franklin, an early settler, and about dating with the Ross family, to whom was born the first son in Pike county, has been gathered to his fathers many years, leaving respected sons and descendants.
Robert and Joseph Goodin and Fisher Petty were amongst the noted men of Highland. Petty was a County Commissioner at Pittsfield. Mr. Murphy was the first County Surveyor. Joseph Goodin was County Surveyor thereafter, a good officer; he is yet living, but in Missouri.
Ephraim Cannon, Sheriff afterwards of Pike, was an early and respected citizen. James M. Seeley was for twelve years noted as the honest, easy Sheriff. It was his duty to collect revenue; if a man was not ready to pay his tax, Seeley paid it and trusted him. Seeley had a numerous family, of whom Dr. E. M. Seeley, who was a surgeon during the Late war,
Page 11 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
was one; another, Dr. David Seeley, was an early settler of and died in Texas.
Benjamin D. Brown, now of Barry, once lived at Atlas. He came in 1834 from the East and was a first-class millwright and fitted up the mills at Rockport, those were erected by the Rosses and others.
All the settlers above named, but Brown, ante-dated Pittsfield, as did Colonel N. E. Quinby, who, with John Jay Ross, were resident lawyers in Pike county preceding 1833; both are dead.
The business of the county prior to 1833 was all carried on at Atlas; there were two general stores. Warburton & Co. of St. Louis, with whom Col. Ross was a partner, had a large brick store and did an extensive business, all on credit or barter. Mr. Francis Webster, who died after residing some years in St. Louis, also had a general store; with him his brother Thomas was clerk and is now a prominent officer in an insurance office in St. Louis.
Dexter Wheelock kept a tavern, snug quarters, and also had liquors for sale and groceries for family use. The old brick mansion at Atlas, erected prior to 1833 by Colonel Ross, as well as the old brick mansion of Leonard Ross and the brick residence of Sheriff Seeley, are yet standing. Edward McCord, who married Miss Seeley, resides in the latter.
PROMINENT SETTLERS IN OTHER PARTS OF PIKE
Prior to 1833 there were many prominent settlers, very useful and up-right. Amongst these were George W. Hinman and Hawkins Judd, who were County Commissioners with Colonel Ben. Barney, when they bought of the United States for $200 the quarter section of land upon which Pittsfield was located. Hinman and Judd are dead.
Garrett Van Deusen, an eccentric, Knickerbocker Dutchman, was a justice of the peace in an early day, and likely one of the earliest settlers east of Pittsfield, on Blue river, and was the originator of a queer device to crack corn, operated likely as Adam ran the first mill. Van Deusen used the stream of Blue river at a narrow place, and by catching and confining the water thereform in a hollow tree or trough, open at the end up stream and closed at the lower end, he worked a swinging pestle, which was suspended over a mortar, to crack Indian corn. The process was to let the trough fill with water nearly to overflowing; when by its weight it would descend, dashing the pestle into the mortar and crushing the corn. The pestle being adjusted some distance from the end of the trough, up stream, the water spilled beyond the mortar and the machine adjusted itself far another beat at the corn.
In the vicinity of Atlas Henry Long, from Baltimore City, settled about the year 1827. During a residence of many years, until his decease on his farm, he was 1. useful citizen and upright man. He reared a second numerous family of intelligent and educated children. His son, Jesse Long, has been a Supervisor of Atlas township and resides on the old homestead of his father.
This town has had her celebrities a Benj. Metz, once a worthy member of the Illinois Legislature; Jack Morris, James Johns, the whole and numerous race of Metz junior, and also the abounding family of Ham. This family cannot realize the joke of Lord Bacon to one Hog, who claim-
Page 12 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
ed kin to his Lordship; the Judge’s reply was. “You are not bacon until you are hung,” and he then sentenced him to be hung. The Hams are too honest to swing so high.
Part of the plan proposed for the preservation and embodiment of the history of the county is through reports from the respective town ships of local matters, of the biographies of men of repute. This should cover all the matters and individuals not embraced in the general sketch of the county now submitted.
Pittsfield, as the county seat, is so interwoven with the county at large that more space is given to the sketch of men in this locality than to others.
The historian now announces to the audience and the public that if any subjects or individuals of note have not been introduced, it is not through an intention to slight any such, but his been owing to the short space of time allowed to work up this interesting field of labor, covering a space of fifty-five years. The history not being closed, in fact, suggestions will be thankfully received as to any additions proper to be made; if communicated in writing, action will be taken upon them.
Pike county has almost been the mother of states to the west or Illinois. Having a pioneer population of an enterprising turn, large numbers have emigrated together to Oregon, Texas and California and other remote points, following the star of empire. Many estimable farmers have gone further east in Illinois and settled in the prairie counties who once lived in Pike.
The health of this county is almost invariably good, excepting in lowlands, where some malarious disease comes on at times. Long levity exists to a marked degree, and children fairly swarm. Prosperity and fine crops are the general results of industry.
In 1833, when Pittsfield came into being, mails, once, then thrice weekly, were wonders. No newspapers existed for many years; elsewhere we give the report of the rise and fall of newspapers. Church buildings were not erected, but came in apace with population; we now have nearly all known religions extant in the United States; these generally have houses of worship, some of them of fair appearance. The Methodist Episcopal has the highest steeple. We do not quite fill Dean Swift’s description: “High church, low steeple, dirty streets and proud people.”
At present we have two banks, one National, under the acts of Congress, the other has an old state charter. Griggsville and Barry also have each a bank.
PITTSFIELD’S EARLY SETTLERS
It is said impartial history is not written of the living or of current events. We now come to the sketch of many early settlers yet in life; we do not speak in terms of eulogy for the reason that they may hear these remarks; the families of the departed have heard the preceding, and we say that we have not set down anything in malice, and have not spoken through favor. We will not enumerate, as we cannot in the time name all the marked people of Pittsfield and the vicinity, but take those who filled a large space for many years in public estimation.
Page 13 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
Mrs. Nancy M. Heath, who came in the first years of Pittsfield, is a native of Ohio, a ward in childhood of Governor McArthur of that state; she is venerable for her years, feeble in health, but of great endurance. She has witnessed many of the trials and active scenes of western life; her narrative of events, as told by her in person at an “Old Settlers” meeting, was very interesting. She has outlived many relatives and friends. Mrs. Heath and daughter, afterwards Mrs. A. V. Wills, kept one of the earliest schools in the county, and likely the first in Pittsfield.
Thomas Worthington, M. D., yet in life, was the earliest resident physician of Pittsfield; he came in 1833. For a long time he was not outranked by any in his profession here, and while his health permitted had a lucrative practice and was successful and popular. He was for one term a State Senator from Pike.
Merrill E. Rattan, the first postmaster of Pittsfield, long since dead, was also Probate Judge in Pike; he kept a hotel on the same lot on which the “Oregon House” stands.
William Watson, once a Probate Judge, and his wife, are yet with us, advanced in years. Mrs. Watson, long a sufferer, but once a model housekeeper in the Mansion House, and a sincere friend. Mr. Watson is daily seen, six days in the week, with chums enjoying checkers in his old
home, the “Mansion House Hotel.” As a business man he was ever foremost, and by his industry, economy and honesty, he accumulated a handsome property.
Robert R. Greene, who, with his cousin, Austin Barber, opened and carried on the earliest large store in Pittsfield, yet survives; his health long troubled him. He was an industrious, superior business man. Mrs. Greene was one of the earliest and highly respected school teachers.
Austin Barber, in his day the merriest of the gay, honest as the day is long, was for a period County Clerk. He left well written records, in all particulars clean.
Henry T. Mudd, honored of late often in Missouri, was a boy here. He is a first-class business man and early excelled in energy. He was when a boy deputy in the post office and afterwards was County Clerk of Pike.
THE POST OFFICE AT PITTSFIELD
This, from its central position and as a distributing office, has been a marked office. Many individuals have filled the position of Postmaster. Of Rattan and Crane we have spoken, and of Colonel D. B. Bush. Mr. Porter Bennett and his father, Lucius Bennett, the latter as acting postmaster for many terms and at present. Mrs. Louisia Gilmer was appointed by President Grant and filled the office very acceptably until her death. Miss Lizzie Gilmer, daughter of her predecessor and of the late gallant Col. D. Harvey Gilmer, is now the incumbent of this office; the duties of the office are faithfully discharged.
Although a delicate matter for this historian to write as to relatives, yet it would be far from complete unless record was made as to worthy relatives.
John U. Grimshaw settled near Pittsfield in 1834 and afterwards moved to town and for many years was an active merchant exemplary in his life and business, a true friend, a man of great intelligence, he has long departed to the better land. He was a cousin of this writer. Jackson Grimshaw, resident of Pittsfield for 14 years, then of Quincy, has gone as all must go to the land beyond the grave. He was popular
Page 14 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
and much beloved and was a leading member of the Bar of the State; he died in Quincy in December, 1886. He was a beloved younger brother of the writer.
This county has sent many sons and daughters to adorn society in the larger cities and to carry the beauty and order of civilized life to distant states and territories. We cannot particularize all who have gone out from us. St. Louis has energetic business men and physicians who owe to Pike county their earliest training.
Dr. John Hodgen, an eminent surgeon of St. Louis now, was raised in Pike county and mostly about Pittsfield.
Who among the early settlers but remembers that quiet, unobtrusive man, Jacob Hodgen, father of Dr. John Hodgen, and the benevolent member and leader in his, the Christian Church.
Amongst our sons departed to other fields of glory were Messrs. O. M. Hatch and Alexander Starne, both residents of Griggsville, then of Pittsfield, each ran about the same career in Pike, both were Clerk of the Circuit Court and members of the Legislature from Pike county, both have held the office of Secretary of State of Illinois, and are now residents of Springfield in prosperous circumstances Mr. Starne recently has been a State Senator from his district. They are yet in the vigor of manhood.
At Pleasant Yale, earlier than Pittsfield, were several reputable families. Amos, Joseph and Pearly Jackson.
Major James Tolbert, an old Virginian, he was an officer in the 17th Illinois Militia at an early day. He left a numerous respected family, and was himself a substantial farmer and upright man.
Horace Horton, yet in life, was an old sea captain, a very “jolly tar” from the state of Connecticut, an energetic man. He settled in 1832 above Rockport and still resides there.
Lyman Scott, an early settler, married a daughter of Leonard Ross. He was for a time one of the owners of a former mill at Rockport, he was a pushing businessman and removed early to Kansas and is dead.
The Meredith and Neely settlements near the Illinois river, now Detroit township, were composed of several southern families, old settlers, prior to the location at Pittsfield.
John Neely was an early County Commissioner, but removed to Texas and is dead.
John Lyster, at times a Justice of the Peace, died recently in that settlement, of which he was an early and respected citizen and was often on the Grand Jury.
David Dutton, of the vicinity of Pleasant Yale, long deceased, was a very early and active farmer and became a wealthy man, a, warm friend, peculiar in his ways so as to be eccentric.
At Bayville, Dr. Hezekiah Dodge, an early practitioner of medicine, was from Virginia. He was a good study for a painter; he was, as one described John Randolph , ‘long, lean and lank, and moved upon a spindle shank.’ He was respectably connected, and left numerous descendants who are highly esteemed. A son-in-law of his, Mr. Ferguson, was once County Surveyor of Pike and a good citizen and officer.
The brothers Belus and Egbert Jones were old settlers. Belus was never a lawyer, but a pettifogger, he hung on to Lord Coke (J. W. Whitney) like a bobtail to w kite. At court time is was said; “No court till Coke and Belus come.”
Page 15 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
EARLY SETTLERS IN OTHER PARTS OF PIKE
Fearful that township histories may not be forthcoming, we sketch hastily the following, as the history is partial and incomplete unless memorial is preserved of the other meritorious persons whose names follow:
About this town were many highly respected and useful men, not so early settlers as the Atlas men already named.
George W. Johnson was the founder of Griggsville.
Nathan W. Jones, who is pet living, laid out part of Griggsville. He in a well-preserved, energetic business man, the father of prominent sons, well-known to the county.
There were numerous Bradburys, highly respected. Abel Shelly, lately deceased, an estimable citizen. The Harringtons, brothers, Martin yet in life, a worthy man, and the venerable, pious Charles Harrington, who was once an efficient, upright Probate Judge of the county, and was a minister in the Baptist Church.
Boone Scholl, the founder of Perry. which was laid out first by the name of Booneville was a very worthy man.
In the Northwest part of Pike there was an early settlement of very reputable citizens.
Alfred Grubb, once called “the little hay horse” for his sprightliness, was a good Sheriff and County Judge. Thomas Orr, noted as a grand juror for long years, was respected by all. Thomas Hull, a good farmer and remarkable for his active piety; these all leave numerous descendants of great respectability.
The Blairs, father and several sons, all good men, were in the vicinity of Barry before Pittsfield was laid out. William, son of the senior, was a marked member of the Illinois Legislature and an upright and useful man. He is long dead. Montgomery Blair, once a farmer, of later years a fair-dealing merchant in Barry, was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1874. He lives, beloved by his family and friends. Harvey Blair is yet alive and an estimable farmer.
It is impossible in this sketch to notice all the earlier settlers. Some have emigrated, others have died. At court time at an early day in Pittsfield Samuel Gibson, Henry Kent, George Gibson, Samuel G. Sitton, Esquire Hayden, the Tucker Brothers would be seen, and William Johnson. James Johnson, and John and Jacob Heavner, the letter, although dressed in the homeliest garb, with his long ride and his bosom friend, James Johnson, was a conspicuous man. Both of these men were possessed of great nerve and endurance and made great havoc amongst the deer; small varmints they despised.
Samuel G. Sitton survives in his 75th year, and on June 29th, 1876, he cut on his own farm an acre at wheat with a sickle and bound it up on that day and was in Pittsfield the next day as spry as usual. Harvey Dunn of Chambersburg, was an old settler and in 1874 was a member of the Constitutional Convention of Illinois. He was a very unassuming but intelligent, honest man and is long dead.
Stephen R. Gray, venerable and respected in years, yet lives. He was sheriff about 1851; he is an early settler and resided at or near Barry and was at one time postmaster thereat; for many years his home has been at Pittsfield.
Page 16 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
Hamilton Wills is yet as happy as ever, jolly in person, comfortable in business, an old settler in Pittsfield, as a Justice of the Peace in former years, useful and respected, yet alive to make a saddle and get up a fine harness.
Richard Kerr of Pleasant Hill township, was an old farmer, a leading whig, and represented Pike county in the Legislature one term. He died many years since, esteemed by all, leaving many relatives in Pike.
Bonaparte Greathouse of Milton, was a County Commissioner at an early day, of great worth, a good farmer, he is long dead and left surviving him a numerous family; several of his sons are practitioners of law.
Samuel L. Crane, now venerable in years, was a very early settler of Morgan county, Illinois, and has filled acceptably with perfect integrity the office of postmaster at Pittsfield; he is now in private life. He is the father of that useful son resident at Pittsfield, James H. Crane, who has been Circuit Clerk of Pike county and yet lives here and is a deputy clerk in the office of George W. Jones, our present efficient and popular Circuit Clerk.
William B. Grimes yet lives in Pittsfield. He was an able and honest County Clerk far one term, succeeding William Steers, who was a good and worthy officer and his successor is Jonathan L. Frye, who was a son of an honest miller, Jonathan Frye. J. L. is now the incumbent of the County Clerk’s office.
James McWilliams, venerable for his years, influential in his town of Griggsville, has been a representative of the county in the Legislature and often a Supervisor of Griggsville township. He is an early settler of Griggsville.
Daniel D. Hicks, now the esteemed cashier of the First National Bank, is an old resident of Pittsfield and has filled honorably several offices. He was once Sheriff of the county. During his term of office a riot took place on an election day in Pittsfield, when many wild boys who had been good soldiers in the late Mexican war took an active part in the riot, calling out “we are some pumpkins.” By aid of a posse of the people, called by Hicks, the riot was put down.
Frank McWorter, and his wife Lucy, with three children, emigrated from Kentucky; and settled in Hadley township in the spring of 1831; he had wintered in Greene county, Illinois, in 1830. That family were the first settlers in Hadley township, and none others arrived for two years.
Frank McWorter laid out the town of New Philadelphia.
Frank bought his own freedom and that of his wife and many of his children, and left provision in his will to buy grandchildren, which was carried out by his son, Solomon McWorter.
Frank died shout the year 1857, at 77 years of age. Lucy, his wife, died in her 99th year in 1871. Frank was born in South Carolina, Lucy in Virginia. Both these old people were members of the Baptist Church and people of exemplary lives. By industry and economy they left a valuable farm to their heirs. A large and respectable settlement of their descendants now exists around the old home.
This county has had many eminent physicians, prominent amongst whom at an early day were Doctors Hatch, senior, of Griggsville, long deceased. and his son. S. C. Hatch, M. D., now of Barry, yet practicing; he was a surgeon during the rebellion, in the Union army.
Page 17 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
Dr. Higgins, also of Griggsville, once Superintendent of the State Insane Institution, and has been a useful member of the Legislature of Illinois, is yet in successful practice as M. D.
John Hay, the author of “Pike County Ballads,” Secretary since to the Spanish Mission, and private secretary to Lincoln, now on the staff of the New York Tribune, was a boy at Pittsfield, of great hilarity, but not wicked as his ballads might imply.
Pike county and the district is now represented by one of her own sons, far the first time, in Congress, by Scott Wike, well-known at the Pike county bar, and yet himself young in years and a bachelor. We hope he will not die, as President Buchanan, in the same state of life.
Henry R. Ramsay, who died in November, 1873, at his farm in Atlas township, was an early settler, a man of great probity and intelligence. He was once County Commissioner of Pike county, and an active business man; he was much beloved.
Parvin Paullin, a native of New Jersey, came in mature years to Pike, served one term as a Representative in the Illinois Legislature from Pike, and was Probate Judge of the county. He discharged his duty with honor and efficiency; he died many years since.
Reuben W. Scanland, a member of the bar, but much noted as Squire, long a leading Justice of the Peace, popular and when in health and so inclined a very useful officer. He is dead several years.
Joshua Woosley of Barry township, has been a noted man and has served one term with great usefulness and with perfect integrity as Sheriff. He is an old settler and is yet an active man.
Captain Elisha Hurt was Sheriff of Pike county, and filled the office judiciously and honorably. He served during the war of the rebellion in the Union army with distinction.
John McTucker, last of Barry, once of Hadley township, was on the Board of Supervisors from Hadley, and often on the committees of the Agricultural Society of Pike, a first-class farmer, an upright and intelligent man, of great benevolence and very popular. He lost his life by an accident in endeavoring to get upon a railroad car when nearing his home after a trip to California, taken on behalf of his brother, resident there He left numerous and respected family and a valuable estate.
THE MILITARY RECORD
“In records that defy the tooth of time.”
Pike county had brave sons in various regiments. We cannot enumerate all or any number of them. We refer to the muster rolls of regiments. We specify regiments in which we know that Pike had brave men and officers.
Many soldiers of the American Revolution and the War of 1812 have resided in Pike.
This county early in the rebellion furnished large numbers and officers to the early regiments, as to the 8th Illinois, which Shiloh, Donaldson and other battles and was distinguished; one of its heroes, Tip Winans, yet lives, although he was terribly wounded and is lame for life.
Page 18 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
The 16th Illinois, in which Major Sam Hayes and Captain Geo. Stewart were officers, had a company or more from Pike. Other infantry regiments had many individuals who were valiant soldiers from Pike, as the 28th and 33d infantry.
The Lyon Regiment, of Missouri, enlisted many volunteers from Pike who went through the heavy fights of the west and south and many fell in action. Major Benjamin Sellon of that regiment, who was also in other command, survives after being severely wounded and has not yet recovered fully therefrom.
The 2nd Illinois Cavalry, noted in the field for bravery, raised a company or more from Pike. Of its officers, after its first organization, several Pike county men rose to high distinction and high command. Colonel John J. Mudd was advanced from that office to chief of cavalry in the Banks expedition to Red River, and fell bravely endeavoring to repulse an attack on a gunboat on which he was traveling.
Colonel Daniel B. Bush, Jr., was afterwards in command of that regiment and served with distinction. He is now in California.
The 99th Illinois Infantry was all enlisted in Pike county and served from 1862 until the end of the war. Colonel George W. K. Bailey was the first Colonel, being wounded severely at Vicksburg, the command fell on the Lieutenant Colonel, Asa C. Matthews, who distinguished himself therein and at the latter part of the war was sent on a commission against Indians who hid been active in the war of rebellion.
The 10lst Illinois, under Governor Wood, had many men from Pike.
Almost every leading family of Pike county was represented in the regiment which were in the field, and it is impossible at this time to make up a roll of Honor. If made it would redound to the glory of the brave boys in blue from old Pike.
Reuben B. Hatch, formerly a resident of Griggsville, a native of New Hampshire, more recently before his death, of Pittsfield, Pike county, Illinois, was appointed quartermaster of Union troops in 1862, and did an immense deal of vigorous work in his department to forward the Union troops from Cairo to the field. Under General Grant he was present at the battle field of Belmont. He was with the department as Quartermaster at the surrender of Vicksburg, and was during his service a most energetic officer, ranking as Colonel, and being the ranking Quartermaster of the army with Grant in the Mississippi Valley. He Is buried at Griggsville, Illinois, and was interred with Masonic Honors.
Captain Benj. Matthews of Ferry, is an old settler and a man of energy and great respectability. Although past the age when military duty could be exacted, he entered at the organization of the 99th Illinois and went to the field, serving with credit.
Captain George T. Edwards, the well-known host of the Griggsville and now Pittsfield House, was also a Captain in the 99th Illinois, and proved a stirring, brave officer, as he had been a superior Sheriff in the county.
“The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”
Colonel Daniel H. Gilmer, a member of the bar, of great popularity. Master in Chancery of the Circuit Court of Pike county, and in successful practice of his profession, impelled by his patriotism, entered an Illinois regiment. His promotion was rapid and he soon was Colonel. He follow-
Page 19 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
ed the fluctuating fortunes of the war, and bravely leading his regiment fell in the Union army at the bloody battle of Stone river. His body, after tedious search, was found and was ‘buried with distinguised honor in the cemetery south of Pittsfield. Many mourned for the gallant “Dick.”
Major Samuel Hayes, once a very active lawyer, and a partner of Hon. C. L. Higbee before he became Judge, was an exceedingly jovial man, popular amongst the young. He was truly brave. When a mere youth he had been with the army of the United States in Mexico and went through the bloody fields. He entered the volunteer service in the 16th Illinois during the rebellion as Captain. He was immediately elected a Major of that regiment, went to the field, and after service in Missouri and the South, having always been a vigilant, brave officer, he died of disease engendered in the service of his country and is buried In the Pittsfield Cemetery, west of town.
Edward G. Bush, a son of Colonel Daniel B., Senior, is now a Major in the Regular Army of the United States. He has seen much service and has been promoted for gallantry; he is a good scholar and brave officer. He was the only cadet sent from Pike county to the West Point U. S. Military Academy, at which he was for a time Professor of Spanish, and graduated therefrom with honor and has continued in the United States Army. He is now with his regiment in Texas.
Dorus E. Bates, son of Dorus Bates, Esq., of Pittsfield, an early Justice of the Peace, was a Lieutenant in Sherman’s regiment of United States Regulars, and was wounded in the siege of Vicksburg, under Grant. He was shot down at the siege and lost his arm from the wound received. He is now a worthy pensioner, and was in action an intrepid soldier and from boyhood has had many escapes from loss of life. He seemed to have a charmed life.
Jonathan Winans, Jr., was a private in the 8th Illinois and was with his regiment under Oglesby in many deadly battles. He was wounded almost unto death at; he was crippled for life, and it is a miracle that he now survives. He is a pensioner, and truly deserves the money received.
THE SNY CARTE LEVEE
Upon the immediate lands on the Mississippi bottom has been constructed at a cost of $650,000, an earth embankment, or levee, continuous throughout the length of the west side of said county of Pike. It begins at a sand ridge on the river Mississippi in Adams county, and meandering along said river through Pike,.passes into Calhoun county, to the intersection of Hamburg Bay with said river. It is about fifty-two miles in length.
This structure was made, under general legislation of Illinois, by Commissioners William Dustin, John G. Wheelock and George W. Jones, appointed by the County Court of Pike county in 1872. Dustin’s place, after his death, was filled by Benjamin F. Westlake.
This levee was carried through, after being underway over two years, by completion in the spring of 1875. It withstood a flood from the river and also very high water from the inland creeks in that year, but in April, 1876, owing to very rapid rises in the Mississippi and exceedingly high winds prevailing for several days, the levee was broken from the river side, the water pouring in destroying large and valuable crops of growing wheat and floating off fences, drowning out inhabitants. No lives were lost, but spring planting was retarded. Stock had to be withdrawn.
The land-owners have caused contracts to be let to repair the three
Page 20 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
breeches in the levee, which are rapidly proceeding, with the prospect of corn crops being raised, planted in June, 1876.
The county has paid, or contributed in bonds, $250,000 towards building the Hannibal & Naples Railroad, about 38 miles long, crossing the county from east to west, and the branch road, the Louisiana & Pike County Road, from the aforesaid road at Maysville to the corporation of Pittsfield on the north line, about six miles. The Townships of Pittsfield and Newburg paid in bonds about $31,000 to this branch road, and 8100,000 was paid thereon out of the first named subscription.
Several passenger and freight trains pass daily on these roads. By these roads daily connection may be had to the Atlantic and Pacific, the entire trip in eight or ten days across the continent.
The Chicago & Alton Railway has a branch road from its Jacksonville branch to Louisiana, Missouri, traversing the southern tier of townships of Pike. This branch crosses the Illinois river by a bridge, with a draw to pass steamers, the bridge and road being in Pearl township at the Illinois. This road crosses on a magnificent bridge the Mississippi river to Louisiana, Missouri.
The Toledo, Wabash & Western operates the aforesaid Hannibal & Naples Road and the six mile branch to Pittsfield.
The Toledo, Wabash & Western aforesaid operates a road to Quincy which just crosses the northeast corner of Pike county on a bridge across the Illinois river.
This road uses a bridge across the Mississippi river at Hannibal, which is a rail and wagon road bridge.
The Quincy, Alton & St. Louis Railroad is constructed and operated from Quincy to Hannibal, and also to Louisiana. These pass through townships in slid Levee District in Pike county.
These roads all have fine steam engines, elegant passenger coaches and freight cars passing daily.
MAIL FACILITIES NOW AND THEN
In 1833, and for many years, one weekly mail entered the county from the southeast, coming from St. Louis and going to Galena and intermediate offices (and those scarce), carried by change of horses, and by many contractors, in leather bags across the horse.
Some years after Pittsfield was laid out a tri-weekly horseback mail was carried from Jacksonville and other points east, then a tri-weekly mail coach to Pittsfield, for many years ran daily, with a delivery of mails from many points; in about two and a half days from New York and five from California to Pittsfield. Postage across the continent three cents for ordinary letters and regulated by weight. Mails now are carried by railroad trains to Pittsfield and distributed to Darts of Pike daily and portions two or three times weekly. At all points a daily mail can be reached by a few miles travel.
These have offices in all the railroad towns of Pike and hourly dispatches are sent.
EXPRESS LINES AND OFFICES
These are in many of the towns, and daily deliver packages of value and general articles.
Page 21 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
ELECTIONS AT AN EARLY DAY
When Pike was as defined in 1821, some exciting elections came off as well as in later years. The wars of the roses were almost fought over. Towns and voters were scarce as at old Sarum in England, but votes counted; so when the Ross family and the Atlas party were candidates there was a lively time electioneering from the mouth of the Illinois river all the way to Galena, in the present county of Jo Daviess, that being as lively a place and as populous as any in the State, was a precinct of Pike county. Think of sending to rally voters 300 miles and then to send again and almost fight to get returns of elections! Such were the trials or the candidates in an early day. How much better now. If an officeholder he may have been in the whiskey ring and have a fine to pay and to go to jail.
Fancy poll books were made in those earlier days, with fictitious names thereon, to beat the Ross party.
THE LAWYERS OF PIKE
The living members of the Pike county bar number men of prominence in the forum and in the halls of legislation.
C. L. Higbee is one of the most eminent of the Circuit Judges.
Daniel Brown Bush, the senior in years, was a native of and from the State of Massachusetts and was born in 1790. He was a member of the Massachusetts legislature and followed his profession in that State. He came to Pittsfield in 1834. He has filled many lucrative public offices, having been School Commissioner and County, or Probate Judge, Postmaster of Pittsfield, Justice of the Peace, and in all offices and in his profession has been a man of spotless reputation.
W. R. Archer is an honored and useful State Senator and has twice been a member of Constitutional Conventions of Illinois.
Colonel A. C. Matthews, at the bar, on the stump and in the tented field, as well as in the office of United States Revenue Collector, has distinguished himself.
Zachariah N. Garbutt, the original editor of the Free Press, of this county, was a member of the bar and for a time Master in Chancery of the county; he was a very merry soul. In the Mormon War he earned laurels by piling big sweet potatoes for the troops of Anti-Mormons. Earnest and somewhat original in his opinions, very independent in the expression of his thoughts, he was an upright man and something of a genius. He died before he had reached the meridian of life.
“Life’s a short summer-man a flower–
He dies, alas! how soon! he dies.”
BAR AND BENCH
James Ward, lately resident of Griggsville a native of Ohio, a member of the bar, a Justice of the Peace, re-elected because of his business habits and honesty, and once a Probate Judge, filled the several stations officially just named and passed through life highly respected and successful. He left a worthy family and numerous relatives.
The Speaker of the Lobby, “who mixed reason with pleasure and wisdom with mirth,” James W. Whitney, was a native of Massachusetts, a man of considerable early education, having some knowledge of Latin. He came to Illinois before the organization of the State government, which took place in 1818. He resided at an early day at or near Ed-
Page 22 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
wardsville, in Madison county, in this State. He was very taciturn when the subject of his own life was introduced; some suppose he left memoirs thereof, if so, this writer has been unsuccessful in finding such. The earliest Record Book of the Circuit Court of Pike county contains his handwriting and he was in 1821 Clerk of that Court; he wrote a peculiar hand and if style of writing is an index he should have been an oddity; he was such in some respects. One at first sight would in the earlier days of Pittsfield have taken him to be a well preserved preacher or schoolmaster of the days of the earlier Adamses. His dress was plain to homeliness, not being very prosperous and being indifferent in matters of that kind, his hair was sparse, was combed all to the hack of his head and tied often with a buckskin siring or old black shoestring as a queue. He was a cosmopolite of Illinois (so to speak). His journeys were generally made, especially on the Military Tract, on foot and alone; he had an extensive acquaintance, he put up where night found him, with a friend. Upon such trips he was garrulous and carried the news, when newspapers were scarce. He lived often alone in a log cabin, at times at the city of Quincy, and thereafter in Pike county, in Pleasant Hill township. He never had a large library, but bore the name of a learned mall amongst those little used to books.
Whitney acquired from this reputation the name of “Lord Coke.” He was delighted to be so called, and he was thus extensively and better known than by his proper name.
When theaters and shows were rare, at the convening of the Illinois Legislature all were agog, citizens, judges, and legislators to witness the convening of “The Lobby.” It was a great event. A great throng would assemble and after some ceremony “Lord Coke” would mount the stand and call the house to order. He would deliver his annual message, which would be received with cheers and laughter. Many hits and jokes were embodied in the message. Sometimes the satire was very broad and Lord Coke hurt his standing with the Supreme Court by a farcial account of that Court and leading members of the bar meeting to “exterminate the varmints” of the State.
Lord Coke presided over the Lobby with magisterial sway, and when mock heroics moved the man he would be a very important personage. The Lobby was organized by appointing subordinate officers and numerous committees; the titles and functions of those committees would be of the most ludicrous character, and the members composing the same of physical form, public standing, and personal bearing the most opposite of the position and character as assigned on committee.
As an instance, Colonel Thomas Mather, President of the State Bank of Illinois, was a man short in stature, but of great rotundity of person, quiet in demeanor; Judge Thomas Brown and Jesse Thomas, Jr., were fine, portly-looking gentlemen. Such as these Lord Coke would announce, and that in print, as the most suitable members of a committee on gymnastics and ground and lofty tumbling.
At the meetings of the Lobby, which were frequent, sometimes nightly during the session of the Legislature, in the earlier days of Illinois, reports of committees would be called for and were submitted. These would be in accord with the burlesque titles of the committees; these reports were often written by Coke himself and there was a broad personality in them rather Hudibrastic.
At the sessions of the Lobby would be seen the prominent men of the State, including Judges, members of the Legislature and of the Bar.
Page 23 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
When legislation assumed grave proportions, involving popular topics, as the “Illinois Canal and Internal Improvements,” or “The Banks of the State,” you would see Murray McConnel, John J. Hardin, Douglass, Lincoln, Linder, Cavalry, and others on the floor taking part in debates produced by resolutions offered in the Lobby. These would be ably conducted and with great spice of debate. Some matters very prejudicial to the State were considered in a popular but not statesmanlike manner in this debating society of the State.
The “Internal Improvement System of Illinois,” which engulfed Illinois in a worse than useless debt, owes its paternity’ to the spirit of the Lobby.
The Canal and the Illinois Central Railroad, and the more modern roads of the State, are not to be understood as included in the unfavorable comment as to improvements.
The system proposed in the Lobby was too lavish, indiscriminate and expensive for the times. And yet how much of its project has been since carried out.
Lord Coke never was a family man in Illinois. It is said there was a hidden sorrow in this particular before he came to Illinois.
At the bar, Whitney was not successful. There was a want of practical, everyday sense and his law was often obsolete. He is dead many years and passed away less noticed in his demise than many men of less note.
“A youth to fortune and to fame unknown,
Fair science frowned not on his humble birth.”
Who that ever saw his tall, ungainly form and heard, him address a public body could ever forget him?
He was a, member of the bar; he came to Pike county in 1833 or 1834, and resided for sometime at Highland then occasionally preaching. In 1838 and 1840 he was elected to the Legislature of Illinois, and in that body he was regarded as an oddity. He made some of his peculiar speeches and in his career in the Legislature encountered the wit and humor of another marked man, hut of s more elevated type of manhood and education, namely, Usher F. Linder, who died recently at Chicago. Linder told his story of the old woman and her pet coon on Wheeler in the Legislature and broke down the influence Wheeler and his friends anticipated he would have therein. For some years Wheeler had a law office in Pittsfield and obtained considerable business; he took great pride in his oratorical efforts, and made some lofty flights in his forensic displays.
On one occasion Wheeler addressed the jury and said, in reply to the mere remark from Woodson that he submitted the case without any speech, which was intended to prevent Wheeler from speaking: “Gentlemen, I admire the State’s Attorney; he has shown the most sublime eloquence, as from some men it consists in most profund silence.”
Again he said of Woodson: “His eloquence is like the tall thunder amongst the lofty oaks, coming down for to split things.”
This speeceh caused some one who had a ready hand at a rough pencil sketch to draw a picture of a man’s head with a big nose elevated in a tree top, that was upon the west wall of the Court room at Pittsfield, and remained there for many years, until the house was whitened up on
the inside. That big nose was a caricature of Wheeler’s.
Page 24 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
Wheeler brought many suits for trespass and other causes, and on the trial of these much merriment was produced for the Judge, lawyers, jurors and citizens. Courts were great occasions in those days and drew crowds.
In a case for killing a cow, Wheeler, in reply to points made by O. H. Browning, then and now eminent, said: “The gentleman tells you Gentlemen of the Jury, that the plaintiff, my client, cannot recover in this suit because the cow war’nt no cow, because she never had a calf, but that she war a heifer. Gentlemen, that are not the notion of a sound and legal lawyer, but the notion of a musharoon.” This almost convulsed the Court House with laughter.
Another objection of Browning’s in this case that Wheeler answered was thus expressed: “Gentlemen of the Jury, Mr. Browning says that cow war’nt worth a cent. Now, gentlemen, where were there ever a cow that war’nt worth a cent? That cow were worth something for her meat, if she war’nt worth nothing for a milk cow–she war worth something for her horns, she war worth something for her hide, if not for her meat or milk, and gentlemen, she war worth something because the tail goes with the hide.”
The cause of Browning’s point was that Wheeler had failed to prove by witnesses the worth of the cow.
A suit brought by Wheeler for one Harpool against his brother, was for damage done to hogs, by cutting the toe nails off the hogs so as to prevent them from climbing. Wheeler, in describing the injury to the hogs, insisted that the hogs had h right to toe nails and a right to climb, and that, although they had done damage, yet it was laid down “root hog or die.”
One Zumwalt was indicted for destroying a mill-dam of Doctor Hezekiah Dodge’s. Wheeler in this case assailed the character of Dr. Dodge, who was a respectable man and whom the Jury did believe. Zumwalt was convicted upon evidence that he had said at his son-in-law’s, on the night of the destruction of the dam of Dodge: “Just now the muskrats are working on old Dodge’s dam.” Wheeler said of Dodge on the trial: “Dr. Dodge are a man so devoid of truth that when he speaks the truth he are griped.”
During another of the lofty flights of Wheeler, a wag, John Jay Ross, a lawyer and a man who made and enjoyed a joke, laughed so at one of Wheeler’s speeches that he became excited and turned upon Ross in a very contemptuous way, with a majestic sweep of his long arm, brought down at Ross, said: “I wish I had a tater, I would throw it down your throat.”
The speech of Wheeler was not closed that evening, and the next morning early, when Wheeler was again addressing the Jury, and Ross at the bar table, by some hand several large potatoes were put down in sight of Wheeler’s eye. He fired up and let out a torrent of invective on Ross, every one, Judge and all, in aloud roar of laughter.
Wheeler once in a fine frenzy parodied Shakespeare thus:
“Who steals my purse steals trash,
Robs me of that which not enriches him but makes me poor,
all to injure my client.”
Wheeler went to southwestern Missouri, Bates county, before the war, and we lost sight of him–he is said to be dead.
Strother R. Grigsby was formerly County Clerk and is now our respected County Judge.
Page 25 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
J. G. Pettingil has been School Superintendent of Pike and is highly esteemed.
J. M. Bush is so well known as Editor of the Democrat that he needs no commentary. He has been long Master in Chancery of Pike, and has been a State Senator, filling these positions all most acceptably. He is a son of Daniel B. Bush and a brother of the Junior of that name.
James S. Irwin is well known as a prominent lawyer and has for many years had a large practice.
The younger bar must wait for the next history to record their exploits. There are many useful and intelligent men amongst them. Industry, temperance and integrity will ensure them success.
“PRAYER ARDENT OPENS HEAVEN “
Amongst those long gathered to the rest of the blessed we mention the Rev. William Carter; for twenty-five years the influential good father in God and pastor of the Congregational Church in Pittsfield, a ripe scholar and pious man, he had his peculiarities, but no man of better and truer manhood ever lived here.
Dr. Grin S. Campbell, who died some years since, went to Atlas in 1833 or 1834 and resided there practicing his profession of medicine as a partner of Henry J. Boss, M. D., and afterwards removed to Pittsfield; he was also in partnership for a time with Dr. Worthington, and during his career as a physician was of great repute and very successful. He was a superior scholar and a man of great pleasantry with men. His memory is yet green amongst us.
Dr. Benjamin Norris, a graduate of Brown University, in the class with Prentice; of the Louisville Journal, came in 1835 to Pittsfield. He was a native of Rhode Island. He was long a leading physician, and very useful and successful, as numerous families can well attest. He was skilled as an entomologist and sent some valuable and rare specimens of insects to the Smithsonian Institution; he had some rare specimens and a large cabinet of insects collected by himself, which he left in high state of preservation at his death.
We again recur to the living, and cannot speak of all, but tax our memory as to those widely known and conspicuous at an early day. Such are those who lay the foundations of society in new lands.
Dr. Alfred C. Baker of Barry now, at an early day of Pittsfield, once a partner of Dr. Worthington, is noted in his profession. He is a man of originality and intellect; he is a brother of the illustrious General E. D. Baker, distinguished in Illinois when a resident, and thereafter a Senator of the United States from California, who was slain by treachery at Ball’s Bluff in Virginia. He was a man of brilliant intellect, an orator and the finest English belle letter scholar, when residing in Illinois; as a leader in our halls of legislation, on the stump and at the bar, he often addressed the Court and popular assemblies in Pike county in his most inimitable manner.
THE BATTLE GROUND OF THE GIANTS
This county was famous for the political and forensic discussions of Lincoln, Douglas, John T. Stewart, D. M. Woodson, Orville H. Browning, Archy Williams, William Thomas, A. W. Cavalry, Judge Lyman Trumbull, E. D. Baker, Governors Yates, Palmer, and Oglesby, James Robertson, James Alien, Alexander Starne, Colonel Richardson, and numerous other public men have addressed the Court and popular assemblies in this county.
Page 26 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
Milton Hay, now ranking high as a lawyer at Springfield, resided here in his earlier days and was at our bar. He has since been in a Constitutional Convention and in the Legislature of the State.
John G. Nicholas edited the Free Press here, and has been Secretary to President Lincoln, Consul to Paris, and is now Marshal of the Supreme Court of the United States at Washington.
This county has had many good, useful and able men in the office of Probate Judge, thereafter called County Judge.
Abraham Beck was the first Judge, and the first estate administered upon was that of Peter Bourke–John Shaw, administrator–Belus Jones and Barnabas Haines, securities. The caption of letters issued ran as follows: “The People of the State of Illinois, by the Grace of God free and independent.” The letters were dated May 21, A. D. 1821.
Second Judge, Nicholas Hanson.
Third Judge, William Ross-May 1st, 1823, to July, 1825–court being held at Atlas.
Fourth Judge, George W. Haight–from July, 1825, to January, 1827.
Fifth Judge, William Ross-from January, 1827, to December, 1834.
Sixth Judge, M. E. Rattan–first term of court held by him, January 2, 1835.
Seventh Judge, William Watson–first term, April 1, 1837.
Eighth Judge, D. B. Bush–first term November 6, 1837.
Ninth Judge, Parvin Paullin–first term October 7, 1839.
Tenth Judge, I. B. Donaldson–first term October 2, 1843.
Eleventh Judge, James Ward–first term August, 1847.
Twelth Judge, Charles Harrington–first term December, 1853.
Thirteenth Judge, Alfred Grubb–first term December, 1857.
Fourteenth Judge, John W. Allen–first term November 21, 1861.
Fifteenth Judge, R. M. Atkinson-first term November 24, 1865.
Sixteenth Judge, Strother Grigsby–first term December, 1873–and now in office.
The Circuit Court of Pike county, as part of the State system of Courts, has been presided over by many Judges at different periods from 1821 to 1876, men of upright characters and extended judicial fame. Pike county has been in several Judicial Circuits at different periods.
THE SYSTEM OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
This was first by County Commissioners, three in number. Of these many were efficient, and none ever guilty of peculation. In 1857 a township organization was adopted, as permitted by general laws of the State. Until 1876 twenty-one political townships existed. In the latter year Levee Township was organized for political and school purposes.
Under this system the county affairs have been well managed. No startling acts have been done endangering the public business affairs, and much has been effected to advance the county by a wise administration of her affairs, by the Board of Supervisors, of whom many have been wise as local and county officers.
THE CIRCUIT COURT
This is the leading court; has general, civil, common law and equity jurisdiction, with jurisdiction in criminal cases. The Hon. C. L. Higbee
Page 27 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
is the able and dignified judge, unsurpassed in the State or elsewhere, for his legal ability and for dispatch of business.
George W. Jones is now, and has been at several periods, Clerk of this court, and is an able, upright, officer.
James H. Crane has been Clerk of this court, and is now an efficient and gentlemanly deputy clerk in the office of Mr. Jones.
J. J. Topliff, M. D., now resident of Griggsville, was predecessor of Jones, and was a very gentlemanly, honest officer.
EXECUTION FOR MURDER
It may be well to mention that up to this Centennial year, but one execution for murder has been carried out under sentence of the law since Pike county has been of its present reduced limits.
Many and serious land suits have been decided in our courts.
THE COUNTY COURT
This has jurisdiction as a Probate Court, and likewise in appellate cases of civil and criminal nature from justices of the peace, and has original civil jurisdiction of cases, such as a justice has, but higher in amount, up to $500.
The present judge is Hon. Strother Grigsby, who fills the office with dignity and impartiality. His decisions are sound and acceptable. He was a member of the bar.
Richard M. Atkinson, who is a member of the bar, was an upright and able judge in this court for several years, immediately before the term of Judge Grigsby.
We will file a list of the earlier County or Probate Judges and the dates of their terms of office.
All who served in that office were respected and proved to be honest men.
Of course, at the earliest days and for many years, there were none.
The earliest we know of was at Atlas. and the first brick school house was likely there, long used as a meeting house by the few religious denominations. Gradually schools sprung up over the county and a commendable zeal for education has existed, especially since the public school system was adopted by the Illinois Legislature.
Griggsville erected, about twenty years since, a spacious and sightly two-story brick house which was burned, and is replaced by one similar to the former. In these have been kept large and excellent schools.
Pittsfield, in 1861, began and in about two years completed a very handsome two-story brick school house now in use, and containing a basement and eight spacious rooms for schools, all filled at times with scholars. It is conducted under the graded system of instruction and has a high or advanced school, teaching languages and sciences. Its principles and teachers have been of a high order of merit.
Brick or spacious frame houses exist in all the large towns in the county, and numerous sightly and well built school houses abound and are in view every few miles in all parts of the county.
Page 28 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
The pecuniary support is derived from local funds, in part from the land grant of the United States, of a section to each township; by taxation by the school officers, and by a pro rata from a fund raised by legislative provision periodically.
The schools are free to all children from six to twenty years of age.
The aforesaid houses in Pittsfield, Griggsville and other localities are successors of more simple or rude structures.
NEWSPAPERS IN PIKE
The Sucker began in 1842, and was the earliest published in the county. Its proprietor and editor was Michael J. Noyes, a remarkable man, of frank manners, industrious, shrewd, of fair education, honest in his business. In early life as a land surveyor he laid off land for the
United States under contract, when original surveys were made. He was a native of New Hampshire, and true to the views of his Northern ancestry, was an advocate of freedom. He was, before removing to this county, clerk of the circuit court of Pike County, Missouri. He died respected and honored, a leading officer in the Masonic fraternity, and leaving his wife, the partner of his early life, and a numerous family.
The Free Press was established in lieu of the Sucker. The first number it dated Pittsfield and Griggsville, Monday, April 13, 1846, published every Thursday (thereafter). Its second number is dated Thursday, April 23; editors and proprietors Z. N. Garbutt and M. H. Abbott. It was a Whig paper.
The Sentinel, established in 1845, by T. G. Trumbull and G. W. Smith, the former as editor. After it ceased its material and patronage went to the Union.
The Pike County Union, established on April 25, 1849, by John S. Roberts as editor and proprietor. That merged into the Pike County Democrat. Mr. Roberts has filled several responsible lucrative positions, and is now a justice of the peace in Pittsfield.
The Pike County Democrat was published under that name, and commenced in May, 1857. Milton Abbott was editor and proprietor. He sold out, and it is yet continued by J. M. Bush, at Pittsfield, vigorously conducted. It advocates the doctrine of the Democratic party and has a large circulation.
T. G. Trumbull, editor of the Sentinel, was a member of the bar of Illinois. He came from Connecticut, and was a nephew of the celebrated painter, Col. Trumbull, of Washington’s military family. T. G. Trumbull had but little business at the bar. He was peculiar, and if asked about early rising expressed himself, “That it was not best to be about until the world was well aired by the uprisen sun.” His health was feeble, his instincts gentlemanly, his education good, and retiring habits. He has long been buried near Pittsfield. He had no relatives in this vicinity.
The Radical, for a brief time published as the exponent of a sentiment. It was edited with vim, by Major Charles S. Sellon. He was afterwards a, vigorous and useful editor of the Illinois State Journal, published at Springfield, Illinois. His bravery led him to the front, and he served for a short time in the Union Army. By deafness he was physically disqualified for army life. He died a young man, mourned by his family and many friends. He is buried in the graveyard of St. Stephen’s Church Pittsfield, Ill. He was a son of the Rev. Mr. Sellon of New York.
The Radical was reduced like a razed vessel, until it was The Radi, under command of O. W. Topliff, and lasted only a short time.
Page 29 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
The Pike County Journal was the offspring of the Free Press, and was established by Daniel B. Bush, Jr., in 1860, and edited by him until a sale thereof to Robert McKee. The Old Flag took the place of the Journal.
The Old Flag was the successor of the Pike County Journal, and owes its name to its first editor, Robert McKee, who was an able man when at his post. Its first issue was in the first week in March, 1868. This paper yet supports ably the principles of the Republican party. Robert Criswell, once a spicy editor thereof, is now in the far West. It is now owned by Messrs. Jas. Criswell and Jas. Gallagher, the latter being its efficient editor. It has a liberal patronage.
The Barry Adage, published weekly, is in it; second or third year.
The Griggsville Reflector is now two or three years old.
The Milton Beacon is now in its second year.
The newspapers published in this county have issued only once a week.
EXPORTS OF THE FARM
This country is unsurpassed for its winter wheat. Large quantities are exported as flour and wheat. Beef and pork are staple commodities, and yield an immense revenue to the farmers. Corn is a most abundant crop and enters largely into commerce. Grass and hay are produced without stint.
Fruits of all kinds, great and small, abound. The apple corp when shipped yields a great income.
PIKE COUNTY OF 1876
Pike County in 1876 is composed of territory bounded on the south by the peninsula of Calhoun county, stricken off from the original territory of Pike; beginning on the south and embracing range seven south of the base line, and west of the fourth principal meridian; meandering the Illinois River for its Eastern boundary, and then north, including Township three south two west, fronting on the river, and also including Township three south ranges three and four west; thence west from the southwest corner of Township three south four west, or Fairmount, to the Mississippi River, in Township four south eight west; thence meandering with the channel of said river to the township line of seven south five west in said river, including twenty-six townships and fractional townships, laid off for political purposes into twenty-four townships, designated as follows:
Chambersburg, Ferry, Fairmount, Flint, Griggsville, New Salem, Hadley, Barry, Kinderhook, Levee, Detroit, Newburg, Pittsfield, Derry, Pleasant Vale, Montezuma, Hardin, Martinsburg, Atlas, Pearl, Spring Creek, Pleasant Hill. Sixteen of these townships are six miles square, and the fractional townships are of various sizes, as the land is shaped by the bow of the rivers Illinois and Mississippi.–The Illinois running in most places on the borders of the County nearly south; the Mississippi varying by its course the width of the County, from about thirty-eight miles on the north line to about eighteen on the south line, its course being to the southeast.
This County is varied in its surface. Its greatest altitude from the rivers being about three hundred and ten feet on the summit ridge. Various large water courses flowing to each river furnishing, with living springs which abound, abundance of good water. The soil is much diver-
Page 30 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
sified. On both rivers and on several large creeks, there is a large acreage of fine alluvial land, which is productive when properly drained, and much of it required no drainage. The uplands adjacent to the bluffs of the two rivers are rolling, originally mostly timber, now largely in cultivation. Nearly every Township in the County had much rich and beautiful rolling prairie. The growth on a portion of the land, in many townships, was black-jack, a species of scrub oak. These were called barrens, but falsely so-called, as some of the finest farming, and especially wheat and grass lands, are in the former barrens.
The productions of the County are diversified. Corn, wheat, oats, rye, and all small grains and grapes grow and with great luxuriance; sweet and Irish potatoes and all garden vegetables flourish. Fruits of every kind and the lesser berries yield large crops. The County is famed for its fine stock raising qualities.
The minerals are varied and numerous, but none developed to much extent. Abundance of fine stone and some superior quarries exist. There is a species of sandstone which opens out in rectangular figures from natural fissures. Limestone is plentiful. Near Rockport there is stone nearly similar to marble and beautifully veined. Perry and other medicinal springs have deserved celebrity. Salt springs exist, but as yet have not availed much for salt producing. It is evident that some races of people have delighted to inhabit this county. Many ancient mounds exist. Stone cises, or coffins, in considerable numbers have been found, and all the implements of the stone age are seen as original here. In a state of nature 311 the wild fruits of this latitude were abundant, but cultivation has done away with them.
The latitude of this county is a little south of Philadelphia, Penn.
It is about eighty miles from St. Louis to its southern boundary.
The leading wagon roads of emigrant travel pass through this county.
Numerous old ferries exist on the rivers which once swarmed with emigrant wagons
The navigable waters of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers on the East and West are yet of immense value to our farmers and business men. These could be used to much greater advantage and less cost for freight, were the boats all properly constructed to avail of the water at its lower stages; presupposing that the National Government improves the rivers by narrowing and deepening the channels, upon the principle of constructing jetties at the mouth of the Mississippi. In the Future, great developments will be made of how to manage the mighty rivers to economize and to use the water in times of drouth.
It is possible, we hold, to scour out and thus deepen our rivers in, and bordering on Illinois. Competition will thus increase in the means of transportation as freights increase. Who can foretell the destiny of the West with deeper rivers and sea-going vessels? Perhaps ascending many hundred miles above New Orleans for freights. We confidently anticipate this.
The public buildings and improvements generally, are very good. Moderate in cost-not pretentious in structure.
The first Court House in Pittsfield was 3 small frame, standing on the alley on the north side of the street facing, and north of the Public Square. It is now used by Joseph Heck as a store. The order for its
Page 31 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
erection was made by the County Commissioners on the 4th day of June, 1833.
The second Court House in Pittsfield, now in use, was built in 1848-9 by County funds, derived from proceeds of sales of town lots of Pittsfield, by the County Commissioners. The first sale was on the 15th day of May, 1833. Subsequent sales were made by the Commissioners of town lots all on the old plat. The first Court House was also built out of proceeds of early sales. The present Court House is a large two-story brick with a dome and high roof. It is in good repair. The court room for the Circuit Court is in the second story, and has two jury rooms on the east thereof. The first story is used for the County Court and public offices. This house stands in the center of a public square, set out with trees. The plat of ground is three hundred and forty feet square, streets surrounding it. There are fire-proof County offices near the West entrance to the square. It is handsomely enclosed with a plain, painted, wooden fence. Trees are well-grown and mostly of native kinds. Blue grass and white clover clothe the ground.
An ornamental two-story brick jail is upon the Northeast corner of the streets surrounding the square.
These now in use are the second structures of the kind in Pittsfield. The first jail was of brick; it was sold and afterwards burned.
POPULATION AND SETTLEMENT
This County is now densely settled for a farming country, and yet there are lands now unoccupied, and vast tracts owned and occupied by few families. The county is capable of supporting a very much larger population than is now therein. Its people are from every State in the United States, and from every foreign land, almost, which has sent settlers to the middle states, and are intelligent, industrious and enterprising.
Public roads lead to all the towns in the county from Pittsfield. Ferries exist at many points on the rivers. There is a railway and wagon road bridge crossing from Pike county to Hannibal, Mo., and a railroad bridge at Louisiana.
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Pittsfield is the County Seat, and laid out 1833. Railroad here.
Griggsville is about the same age. Railroad here.
Barry was Wooster, and is not quite so old. Railroad here. These are the leading towns.
Perry is a beautiful town, once Boonville.
Milton was laid out about 1836, and is a neat village, and has a large four mill.
Washington was laid out in 1836; is a neat village and has a large flour mill.
Chambersburg is a sightly town.
Kinderhook is handsomely situated; has many good buildings, and is on the H. & N. R. R., and has a large flour mill.
Pleasant Hill is, as its name signifies, and well located. A railroad at its limits, and a large flour mill, business houses and churches in town.
Rockport, on the Sny Carte, for fifty years nearly the site of water mills; is an interesting business location; some neat stores and houses, and a very nice, roomy brick school house ornament it. A large trade has existed there.
Page 32 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
We cannot enumerate all the steam flour mills, but many of the towns have such which we have not specified.
Pleasant Vale, the oldest, and New Canton, are so united as to be one. A flouring mill and the usual shops for trade are run here.
New Hartford and Summer Hill are neat little villages. Postoffices. there, and churches. Very sightly situated, both towns.
Cincinnati, on the Mississippi river, is an old town, but has not grown much. The Sny leyee may promote its growth. There are stores and warehouses there, and usual shops.
Atlas, the first town laid out, has lost standing by the removal of the county seat. A pretty situation, but is eclipsed by its neighbor, Rockport and little other than farming is now carried on there.
Detroit, Time and Nebo are all neat little villages, each having one or more churches, and stores and shops. Time and Nebo each have a flour mill.
Florence, first called Augusta, was laid out by Green, Barber, Worthington and Davis, and if big hopes could have so made, it would have rivalled Peoria. This was once a place of a good deal of business, and the landing for Pittsfield from steamboats. In 1849 the stampede to California, set it back, and it has dwindled ever since.
PERRY AND PERRY TOWNSHIP
Considerate friends, residents thereof, have furnished the following as to that locality and we record the same:
The first settler was Mr. Lovelady, in 1829. David Callis, John Bond, the Akins, Dorsey and Gregory, in 1830. David Johnston and B. L. Matthews, in 1832.
Mr. Sutton (Baptist) preached the first sermon at the residence of Mr. Callis in 1829.
The first school was taught by Miss French in 1831. She now resides in Brown county, Illinois.
The first merchant was J. S. King, who was the first postmaster. Mails then once a week.
The town was laid off in 1834 by Boone Scholl, and called Booneville. The next year relaid by N. M. Jones, and given the name Perry. First brick kiln by Shepardin, 1833. First blacksmith, W. Vanpelt, 1838. Chenowith and Carpenter first Justices of the Pence, 1835.
In 1836 population poured in.
In 1836 Hugh L. Sutphin became resident physician and was afterwards a very worth State Senator. He is dead.
Perry was incorporated in 1851. with but five hundred inhabitants.
BUSINESS HOUSES NOW
Five dry goods stores, two hardware and tin shops, three grocery stores, one foundry, three blacksmith shops, two cabinet shops, six church buildings, a public school house of four departments, and three hundred and fifty pupils, three physicians–Dunn, Harris and Walling–and three shoe shops. This is a sightly town and does a prosperous business.
Mrs. Fifield is postmistress. Mails daily. The Township has four hundred and seventy-five voters and increasing its vote every year.
J. K. Cleveland, who has for many years been on the Grand Jury at intervals, is the leading Justice of the Peace.
Page 33 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
The towns in Pike. Many of them carry on manufactures.
Barry has mills, pork houses of large capacity, blacksmith and other shops, and adjacent a large woolen mill, established by the Messrs. Wike.
Griggsville has a large carriage shop and flour mill, and the usual stores and shops of lesser trades.
Milton has many shops and has a pottery doing considerable business. Handsome stores with large stocks of goods are here open.
Pleasant Hill has mills and tobacco factories. That Township adjacent is first-class tobacco land, and good for other crops.
New Hartford and Summer Hill each have blacksmith shops and stores. Coopers make barrels here to a large amount.
El Dara has a large flour mill and usual small shops.
Perry has a woolen mill, flour mill, and the usual shops of trades.
Chambersburg has a hour mill, stores and usual shops of trades.
Kinderhook has a flour mill and usual shops of trades.
Rockport has some shops of trades, and recently a large flour mill was burned. Coopers made or sold a large amount of barrels at this place.
Pittsfield has two large and well-equipped hour mills, a woolen mill, three or four wagon shops, two considerable carriage shops, two tobacco factories, and some lesser workers in tobacco, a foundry, several blacksmith shops a large factory for fan mills to clean grain and seeds, numerous large stores of various kinds; and some subdivision of business exists. The grocery is distinct from dry goods. Stores for finer wear for men and women, and hats, caps and boots exist. Four hardware stores, and all selling more or less machinery. Sale and manufacturing shops of furniture are carrying on business, and the lesser trades are carried on. Three drug and medicine stores, shops to sell candy and small wares, and three barber shops.
This county has numerous literary and other societies.
The first library was founded in Atlas in 1833-4. Part of the books now exist in the Pittsfield Library, an incorporated institution, the second, of a general nature. It has several hundred, and, perhaps, exceeding one thousand volumes. Libraries exist in other towns.
Pike County has had more than one organization as an Agricultural Society, and one now exists, located at Pittsfield. It has twenty acres or more of beautiful ground on section twenty-five, south of Pittsfield one-half a mile. A Horticultural Society Antiquarian Society, and Old Settlers Society exist.
CHURCHES AND RELIGION
Religion, or the worship of Almighty God, is in high repute.
Houses of worship of brick and frame, and even stone, exist. In all the larger towns will be found the following denominations, and even over the country, a diversity of church fellowship exists. The churches are: Methodist Episcopal, and other styles, as well as German Methodist; Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Christian, Lutheran, Protestant Episcopal, United Brethren, Roman Catholics, and there may be others.
HOTELS IN PITTSFIELD
The Pittsfield House, kept by George T. Edwards on Northwest corner of the Square.
Page 34 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
The Oregon House, kept by Abraham Butz, on Southwest corner of the Square.
The Mansion House, kept by Joel Pennington, south side of the Square. All the foregoing are brick houses.
George Edwards, on “South side of the Square.
James F. Stobie, West of Oregon House–same lot.
Pennington & Co., Southwest corner of the square. All well equipped, and carriages, close and open, its well as horses and buggies for hire.
Up to 1833 a boat by steam was rarely up the rivers–Illinois and Mississippi–more than once in two weeks. Special trips were made to Spring Lake, in Pike, near Atlas, by the William Wallace, and one or two other steamers up to 1835, to carry goods to Atlas and to take out freight.
Now five steamers, elegantly equipped, make daily trips in good stages of water, on the two rivers, unless in winier when ice-bound. But few weeks occur when a daily picket does not ascend the Mississippi for Quincy and above. Packets ply on the Illinois river daily, ascending as high as the canal at LaSalle.
Tow boat steamers run up and down with fleets of large barge-like boats, with grain, stone and lumber on the Illinois river; these being the freights descending.
The mode of navigation in an earlier day was in keel boats with poles and by cordelling; and descending, only flat bottom boats and rafts were floated down stream.
This office has usually been filled by men of upright character and very able. We cannot pretend to enumerate them.
David Johnson, one of those Surveyors, in office about thirty years ago, is yet alive. He was an energetic man and Surveyor and of great worth.
A. G. Chamberlain, who lives at Barry, has been a deputy surveyor several times under the County Surveyor. He is a superior surveyor, and an intelligent, honest man.
Gordon, of Griggsville, in his ripe old age, survives. He was a good Surveyor in his day.
Joseph Goodin we have spoken of elsewhere.
Harris, recent incumbent of the office of County Surveyor, is a genius, a good companion, an upright man, and useful in his office. His successor is Mr. Glare, elected in 1875. He opens out well for a young officer. We predicts useful career for him.
APOLOGY OF THE HISTORIAN
In ending these outlines for history, biography and memoirs, prepared in a brief space of time, almost without books of reference, and with little aid from other sources, the historian craves your lenient judgment.
With the conqueror, but not as a conqueror, I say “Veni, Vidi,” “I came, I saw,” but the Vici, the last word of that phrase, I am not vain enough to appropriate.
Page 35 — HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
If, like the swan, this be my expiring song, I say with the Roman, “dignum et decorum est pro patria mori.”
May this County and Nation have many Centennials, but to offer up the prayer that any of my adult fellow citizens might enjoy the next Centennial, would be in vain since the days of Methuselah.
It is my anticipation, in the march of events, that the next Centennial History of Pike will be offered by a lady.
The ladies, God bless them, by that time, will have superseded the men and put them aside as false gods. The men will then enjoy “Otium cum dignitate.”
Farewell kind friends; may your paths be strewed with flowers, and every blessing attend you.
Adieu, until the next Centennial. The volume is closed.
Holly Ann Burt has also prepared an index to William’s address; it is shown
INDEX to the
HISTORY OF PIKE COUNTY
by William A. Grimshaw
Note: Spelling of words and names have been left as is.
You will find the name in the first two paragraghs of the address at the link.
Abbott, Milton H. 28a, 28b
Adams, Family 6, 22
~John W. 26
Akins, Family 32
Archer, Wm. R. 4, 21
Atkinson, Richard M. 4, 26, 27
Lord Bacon 11
Bailey, Colonel George W. K. 18
~Dr. Alfred C. 25
~Dr. E. D. 25a, 25b
Barber, Austin 13, 32
Barney, Colonel Benjamin 10, 11
~Dorus E. 19
~Dorus E., Esquire 19
Beck, Abraham 26
Bond, John 32
Boss, Henry J. 25
Bourk, Peter 26
Bradbury, Family 15
Branson, Mr. 10
Brown, Judge Thomas 22
Browning, O. H. 24, 25
~Colonel Daniel B., Sr. 13 (first reference Sr.?), 19, 21, 25, 26
~Colonel Daniel B., Jr. 18, 25, 29
~Major Edward 19
~J. M. 4, 25, 28
Butz, Abraham 34
Callis, David 32
Campbell, Dr. Grin S. 25
Cannon, Ephraim 10
Carpenter, Mr. 32
Carter, Rev. William 25
Cavalry, A. W. 23, 25
Chamberlain, A. G. 34
Chenowith, Mr. 32
Cleveland, J. K. 32
Lord Coke (See Whitney)
Cook, Mr. 8
~James H. 16, 27
~Mr. 13 (first reference)
~Samuel L. 16
Davis, Mr. 32
Dodge, Dr. Hezekiah 14, 24
Donaldson, I. B. 26
Dorsey, Mr. 32
Douglass, Mr. 23, 25
Duncan, Mr. 8
Dunn, Dr, Harvey 15, 32
Dustin, William 19
Dutton, David 14
Edwards, Captain George T. 18, 33, 34
Ferguson, Mr. 14
Fifield, Mrs. 32
Franklin, Ebenezer 10
Free Frank (See McWorter)
French, Miss 32
Frye, Jonathan L. 8, 16
Gallagher, James 29
Garbutt, Zachariah N. 21, 28
~Colonel Daniel Harvey 13, 18
Glare, Mr. 34
~Joseph 10, 34
Gordon, Mr. 34
Grant, General 18
Gray, Stephen R. 15
Greathouse, Bonapart 16
~Mrs. Robert 13
~Robert R. 13, 32
Gregory, Mr. 32
Grigsby, Strother R. 4, 24, 26, 27
Grimes, William B. 16
~John U 13
~Wm. A. Grimshaw 1, 4a, 4b, 13
Grubb, Alfred 15, 26
Haight, George W. 26
Haines, Barnabas 26
Ham, Family 11, 12
Hanson, Nicholas 26
Hay, Milton 26
Hardin, John J. 23
Harpool, Brothers 24
~Charles 15, 26
~Mr. (Surveyor) 34
~Dr. Sr. 16
~O. M. 14
~Reuben B. 18
~Dr. S. C. 16
Hay, John 17
Hayden, Esquire 15
Hays, Major Samuel 18, 19
~Miss Heath (m. Wills) 13
~Nancy M. Heath 13
Heck, Joseph 30
Henry, Patrick 6
Hicks, Daniel D. 16
Higbee, Hon. C. L. 4, 19, 21, 26
Higgins, Dr. 17
Hinman, George W. 11
~ Dr. John 14
Hog, Family 11
Horton, Horace 14
Hull, Thomas 15
Hurt, Captain Elisha 17
Irvin, James S. 4, 25
Jefferson, Thomas 6
Johns, James 11
~George W. 15, 16, 27
Johnston, David 32
~Belus 14, 26
~George W. 19
~N. M. 32
~Nathan W. 14
Judd, Hawkins 11
Kent, Henry 15
Kerr, Richard 16
King, J. S. 32
Lincoln, Abraham 23, 25
Linder, Usher F. 23a, 23b
Lovelady, Mr. 32
Lyster, John 14
Mather, Colonel Thomas 22
~Colonel A. C. 21
~Lieutenant Colonel Asa C. 18
~Captain Benjamin 18
~B. L. 32
McArthur, General 13
McConnel, Murray 23
~Mrs. Edward (Seeley) 11
McKee, Robert 29
McTucker, John 17
McWilliams, James 16
~Children (2) 16
~Benjamin Jr. 11
Morris, Jack 11
~Henry T. 13
~John J. 18
Murphy, Mr. 10
Neely, John 14
Nicholas, John G. 26
Norris, Dr. Benjamin 25
Noyes, Michael J. 28
Oglesby, Governor 19, 25
Orr, Thomas 15
Palmer, Governor 25
Pettingil, J. G. 25
Petty, Fisher 10
Pike, General 5
Paullin, Parvin 17, 26
Pennington, Joel 34
Point Au Sable, Jean Baptiste 8
Quinby, Colonel N. E. 11
Ramsay, Henry R. 17
Rattan, Merrill E. 13, 26
Reynolds, John 9
Richardson, Colonel 25
Roberts, John S. 28
Robertson, James 25
~Family 8, 9, 10a, 10b, 11, 21
~Henry J. 9
~John Jay Ross 11, 24
~Leonard 9, 10, 11, 14
~Miss (m. Scott) 14
~Colonel William 9, 10, 11, 26
Scanland, Squire Reuben W. 17
Scholl, Boone 15, 32
Scott, Lyman 14
~Dr. David Seeley 11
~Dr. E. M. 10
~James M. Seeley 10
~Miss Seeley (m. McCord) 11
~Sheriff Seeley 11
~Major Benjamin 18
~Major Charles S. 28
~Rev. Mr. 28
Shaw, John 26
Shelly, Able 15
Shepardin, Mr. 32
Shonwennekeh/Spice Bush 9
Sitton, Samuel G. 15
Smith, G. W. 28
Spice Bush/Shonwennekeh 9
Starne, Alexander 14, 25
Steers, William 16
~Captain George 18
~John T. 25
Stobie, James F. 34
Stratton, Charles 10
Sutphin, Hugh L. 32
Sutton, Mr. 32
Swift, Dean 12
Taylor, Zachary 10
~Jesse Jr. 22
Tolbert, Major James 14
~ Dr. J. J. 27
~O. W. 28
~ Lyman 25
~Colonel T. G. 28a, 28b
Tucker, Brothers 15
Van Duesen, Garret 8, 11
Vanpelt, W. 32
Walling, Dr. 32
Ward, James 21, 26
Washington, George 5
~Mrs. William 13
~Stephen R. 10
~William 13, 26
Westlake, Benjamin 19
Wheeler, Alpheus 23, 24
~Daniel Wheelock 10, 11
~John G. Wheelock 10, 19
~Miss Wheelock 10
~Mrs. Daniel Wheelock 10
Whitesides, General 10
Whitney, J. W. (Lord Coke) 14, 21, 23
Wike, Scott 17, 33
Williams, Archy 25
~Miss (Heath) Wills 13
~Jonathan, Jr. 19
Wood, Govoner 18
Woodson, D. M. 23, 25
Woosley, Joshua 17
Worthington, Dr. Thomas 13, 25a, 25b, 32
Yates, Governor 25
Zumwalt, Mr. 24
1Grimshaw, William A., 1876, History of Pike County – A Centennial Address Delivered by Hon. William A. Grimshaw at Pittsfield, Pike County, Illinois, July 4, 1876: Pittsfield, Illinois, Privately Published, 35 p.
Webpage posted December 2001.