1894 Plat Book of Morgan County Illinois
1894 Plat Book of Morgan County Illinois
"Statistics of the Population of Morgan County By Townships, With Abstract of Agricultural Productions"
Dr. J. R. Haggard was born in Clark county, Kentucky, October 29, 1839. He is the oldest child of D. J. and Sarah A. Haggard, now residents of Scott county. Mr. Haggard removed with his family to Illinois in 1840, and in Scott county the Doctor attended his first school. He attended the academy at Winchester, and also, North Prairie Seminary. At the age of twenty-two, commenced the study of medicine with Doctors Skillings & Brengle, of Winchester. In the fall of 1862 he enlisted in company D, 129th regiment Illinois Volunteers; was in the service till close of the war; participated in several hard fought battles, and was several times wounded previous to the taking of Kenesaw Mountain. As soon as he recovered somewhat, was sent to Quincy where he had charge of a ward in the hospital until discharged, July 2, 1865. The same fall he was elected county superintendent of schools for Scott county, by the Republican party. He graduated in medicine in the winter of 1868, from Rush Medical College, Chicago. The Doctor now has a good practice at his present residence at Lynnville. He was married September 24, 1867, to Miss Fannie A. Avery, daughter of Daniel and E. H. Avery, of Winchester.
Rev. N. P. Heath, the present pastor of Centenary Methodist Episcopal church, Jacksonville, Illinois, was born in Urbana, Champaign county, Ohio, on the 16th day of August, 1818. His parents moved to this state and settled in Alton, in the latter part of the year 1819, when he was left an orphan at the tender age of two years. His early education was perhaps the best the country at that time could afford, for then school houses and colleges were few and far between. He entered the traveling ministry of the Methodist Episcopal church, under the auspices of the Illinois annual conference, in the fall of 1838, and since that time he has continued in the regular work, and has filled efficiently and acceptably many of the most important and responsible stations, not only in this state, but also in the states of Indiana, Missouri, and California, and is now closing the third year of his pastorate of Centenary Church. As a minister of the gospel and an expounder of Methodism, Mr. Heath occupies an enviable position, not only among his brethren in the ministry, but also with the church and people at large where he labors. Though aiming not at display, his pulpit efforts are characterized by good sense, sound theology, fervent piety, and natural eloquence. As an active and efficient pastor, he has but few equals. In affliction he is ever present and ready to administer the consolations of the gospel of peace. He is ever jealous of the ancient landmarks of Methodism, and never hesitates to defend "the faith once delivered to the saints" when it is assailed, though he is not, by any means, dogmatic, or disposed to provoke or invite discussion. In the councils of his church he is an acknowledged leader and able debater. We should perhaps be wanting in truth did we fail to state, that for his success as a minister, and his usefulness to the church, he is greatly indebted to an active, intelligent, and indefatigable co-laborer, the partner of his joys and sorrows - an help meet in the fullest and highest sens of the word.
Charles Heinz was born in Germany, January 20, 1828. He came to Arenzville and followed the occupation of carpenter till 1845, when he removed to Beardstown where he learned the blacksmith trade. He served in a cavalry company, mostly made up in Schuyler county, during the entire Mexican war. At the close of the war in 1849, he settled in Meredosia, where he engaged in blacksmithing and plow manufacturing, which business he still follows. He was a member of the 101st regiment Illinois volunteers, in which he served eight months, ranking 1st Lieutenant. He resigned, but afterwards served as 1st Lieutenant of company K, 28th regiment Illinois volunteer infantry, about one year, till the close of the war. As a good citizen and excellent mechanic, Mr. Heinz is esteemed by a large circle of friends and patrons.
David G. Henderson - Among the names of those who have taken a deep interest in the history of Morgan county, and have preserved many mementos of the past, will be prominently found the subject of this record. He was born in Hampshire county, Virginia, on the 23d of August, 1796. His father (John Henderson) and mother (whose maiden name was Phoebe Ganoe) were old residents of the county, and were related to some of the oldest and most respectable families in the state. His father was a tailor by trade, and chose that profession on account of his lameness. After residing in Virginia a few years after the birth of David, the family removed to Pennsylvania. Not satisfied with the rugged soil and climate of the Keystone State, the family emigrated to Ohio, and after removing from one county to another, finally located permanently in Pickaway county. A farm was purchased, and David, when at home, assisted his father in improving the farm and making the home pleasant and agreeable. He also attended school for a limited time, and imbibed some instruction, which ever has been to him a source of great satisfaction. Even before this, while a small boy in Virginia and Pennsylvania, he was accustomed to work for the neighboring farmers. When eight or nine years of age he was bound out to a Mr. Jacob Ersom, a farmer on the south branch of the Potomac. At the age of twenty_six he left his home in Pickaway county, and was married to Miss Mary Henderson (his cousin), daughter of David Henderson, Esq., an old resident of Pickaway county, and one of the most prominent citizens of that section. Now that he was started out in life, with a family to support, he thought of the far_famed prairies of Illinois, and resolved to remove to that locality. After remaining in Ohio two years, engaged in agricultural pursuits, in company with another family, he started in a four_horse wagon for the Prairie State. The route extended through some of the finest portions of Indiana, and the longer they rode the more beautiful seemed the country. They crossed the Wabash river just above Terre Haute, at a place called "Derger's Ferry," and the Sangamon near the present site of Decatur, and, finally, stopped in Greene county, where they made preparations to winter, on Apple Creek, on the 26th of August, 1825. So we notice, that the trip, commencing on the first of July, 1825, lasted till the latter part of August of the same year. There were no roads in Illinois at that time, and a narrow Indian trail was their only path. The settlers along their route told them that they could not travel in the daytime on account of the green_head flies, which would kill their horses. The groves were fifteen miles apart, and were the resorts of all emigrants. Upon approaching the first, which was called "Hickory Grove," about 10 o'clock A.M., the horses were bleeding and suffering great pain from the attacks of their little savage foes. This grove was recently used as a camping ground by some party, as fires were still burning. They remained here until sundown, when they again started, being now free from the bloodthirsty insects, and arrived, after a short journey, at Linn Grove. The wolves were barking all that night, though the moon shone brightly. Some of the party were greatly disturbed, but with the exception of their howling the emigrants suffered nothing from their presence. They passed over the Okaw, by Platt's, on the Sangamon, near the present site of Decatur, by Springfield to Apple Creek, Greene county. They remained one night at the residence of Rev. John Greene, a true friend to the emigrant, and one who loved to assist the pioneer, without money or price, rather than to coin treasure out of their necessities. They arrived at Apple Creek, as above stated, on the 26th of August, 1825. In the vicinity of where now Whitehall is situated, Mr. Henderson found three uncles, and this made him feel that, though in the distant west, yet he was not without friends. The cabin the family occupied during the winter of 1825_6 was a poor miserable affair that would not at the present time be used for a barn for any decent farmer's horse or cow. They were glad, however, to accept of the shelter of this hut, as it served to keep off, in a measure, the intense cold of that severe winter. It was erected by a family a short time before Mr. H.'s arrival. Since they vacated it, the stock and flies had occupied the same much to the detriment of its cleanliness, if it ever possessed any. The family cleaned the cabin aswell as they could, and prepared it for the long fall and winter. The house possessed neither floor nor upper loft, and was in very poor condition to shelter human beings from the chill winter blasts. For forty days and nights it never thawed, according to the report of all those persons in that section.
That fall Mr. Henderson cultivated a portion of North Prairie, then owned by Mr. Duvall, and planted five acres in wheat, hoping to have white bread during the next season, instead of the regular corn, which had been for a long time their only sustenance as regards grain. A Mr. North had a horse mill and still house, and used the same on week days. During Sunday of each week the poor emigrants would come, work the mill with their own horses, and pay twelve and half cents per bushel for the privilege of using the mill. The new comers were happy if they could get their corn ground even at that price. Few to_day are prepared to give credence to this tale, but by talking with many of our old citizens, the reliability of the above may easily be assured.
On the first day of April, 1826, Mr. Henderson left Apple Creek for
Morgan county, traveling via the Rattlesnake spring, near the present situation
of Winchester, through the prairie where Lynnville is located, thence to
Swinnington Point to James Deaton's, in the timber. During the fall of
1825 a destructive storm had occurred, destroying much of the timber and
blockading the paths with the limbs and trunks of forest trees. Mr. H.
was forced to literally cut his way through the timber. Finally, after
the considerable labor, on the evening of the 2d of April (Sunday), they
arrived in Jersey prairie, and commenced to look for a permanent abiding_place.
Without money or friends, Mr. H. now experienced hard times. We have heard
Mr. H. relate many incidents illustrating the kindly feelings of the parties
who were then living on Jersey prairie. True friends they were, indeed,
to the poor emigrant who had arrived in the almost unbroken wilderness.
Without delay, he purchased a cabin of a Gus Smith, who had built the same
on section 16, range 10, during the previous fall, paying for the same
a cow valued at ten dollars. Mr. H. had not two cows and two ponies, upon
which to depend for sustenance. He rented, of Squire Thomas Barston, some
ground which Mr. H. planted in corn and cotton. When harvest came, the
grain crop having failed, he started for Greene county to look after his
wheat crop. With a sickle in his hand, on foot he traveled to Apple Creek,
a distance of over forty miles. When the grain was cut, he threshed the
old way _ by having the horses trample it _ and carried it to a tread_mill
near Alton, where it was ground; it was then taken home, where it delighted
the family, so long a time deprived of good wheat bread. "Twas delicious,
and at that time tasted to me far better than any sweet cake since that
eventful trip." As for their clothing, it was not fashioned according
to the present mode. The settlers raised flax and cotton for their domestic
use. After the flax was rolled, braked &c., by the men, the women,
after the usual preparation, separated it into three parts, viz: lint,
coarse and fine tow. The coarse was used for breeches, &c. and the
fine for shirts. The cotton was prepared with considerable difficulty,
the seeds having to be picked out by hand. Mr.H. would remain at work carding
with the hand_cards till a late hour night after night. His wife would
spin and manufacture the cotton to suit the various wants of the family.
Of course, coloring was needed for most of the above cloths. Indigo was
raised for that purpose; and there being no earthern or iron vessels, they
were forced to manufacture something to hold the dye. A large log that
laid in the yard was dug out and used for dying purposes. There being no
hot dyes known at that time, of course it answered all demands made upon
it. Our space will not permit mentioning any other of these incidents,
but we will proceed to note some of the offices, &c., held by Mr. Henderson.
Upon arriving in the precinct he was elected constable, and held that office
for over eight years. The people soon found that Mr. H. was a man possessed
of some character, and thereupon elected him justice of the peace. For
over sixteen years he filled the position to the satisfaction of all, and
Squire Henderson was often called upon to settle disputes and grievances.
As township treasurer, he served over twenty_eight years, without a single
doubt as to his honor and integrity as a public official. In 1847 we notice
his name as county commissioner, which position brought him in contact
with all the leading citizens in the county. Nearly all the time since
1826 he has served the people in some capacity. This fact alone is ample
evidence as to his ability as an officer and his popularity as a citizen.
Though now in his seventy_seventh year, his mind is unimpaired, and his
memory still preserves its accustomed vigor. Squire Henderson is to_day
a living example of those brave men who founded this county _ changed the
wilderness into a populated section, and planted and encouraged the present
system of intellectual and religious instruction. May we prove worthy of
his labors, and show that we appreciate the struggles and trials of those
brave pioneers for their own and their state's existence.
E. S. Hinrichsen was born in the Grand Duchy of Mechlinberg, on the 29th of April, 1815. The father of Mr. H., Solomon Hinrichsen, Esq., is still living in the Duchy, though over eighty-six years of age. He was a merchant of many years standing. Though retired from active business for a long time, he is yet able to walk five miles in the morning without great fatigue. The mother of Mr. E. S. Hinrichsen, whose maiden name was Rachel Behrens, died about four years ago, deeply regretted by a large family and many friends. Mr. Hinrichsen was educated in the mercantile line of business, after attending the usual common schools of the country. He was a clerk in the city of Laarge for three years. He next entered a large wholesale establishment in the city of Hamburg. He was also supercargo on a vessel for nearly three years, and made two trips to the Mediterranean, one to Sumatra, and one to South America. After the latter voyage he was shipwrecked on the Louisiana coast, and finally landed upon the Unhappy Islands. He then went up the Mississippi river, then up the Ohio, and came to Pennsylvania. He then made two trips to New Orleans on the rivers, and then engaged in railroading, under Thaddeus Stevens (afterwards the great commoner), on the Harrisburg & Gettysburg Railway. This road was called "Thad. Stevens' tape-worm," owing to its peculiar grade and curves. When Mr. Hinrichsen first came to Pennsylvania, he discovered the oil which of late has made Oil Creek so noted. He had some analyzed by a chemist at Pittsburg, who pronounced it excellent for rheumatism. It was called at this time, the "American Rock Oil." He did not understand the nature of the same, and thus let the golden opportunity of making a fortune slip through his hands, not knowing that the oil could be obtained in large quantities by boring. At this time, any of the land could be purchased for eighteen and three-fourth cents per acre. Mr. H. was the first man in the country to have the oil analyzed, and was the predecessor of those speculating parties, who almost coined gold out of the wild and inhospitable soil of the oil regions. There is much credit due Mr. H. for first introducing to the attention of the chemist this now far-famed petroleum.
Mr. H. started for the west in 1840, and arrived in Illinois in the
latter part of March, of the same year. After a close examination of the
state, he finally settled in Franklin, Morgan County, about seven miles
south of where Alexander is now situated. Here he established himself in
the mercantile business. He remained in this line of trade until 1852.
He laid out Franklin, now known as Orleans, in 1852, and established his
brother in the general merchandise business, but the style of the firm
was in the name of the subject of this sketch. In 1853 he sold his store
at Franklin, and purchased a firm three miles north of Franklin. He was
also the station agent at Orleans, and grain buyer. In 1856 he purchased
over one hundred thousand bushels of wheat. Not being able to obtain sufficient
ground for building purposes at Orleans, in 1857 he laid out the present
town of Alexander, naming it after the "Napoleon farmer of the west"
- John T. Alexander, Esq. This place ever since has been the home of Mr.
Hinrichsen. He was the stock agent of the Great Western Railroad in 1857.
He held that position to the satisfaction of all parties concerned till
1867, when the consolidated Toledo, Wabash & Western Railway appointed
him general stock agent for the road from Buffalo to Quincy, with all the
branches of the road, with the single exception of the city of St. Louis.
This business occupies nearly all his time, as the great railway, with
its immense traffic in stock transportation, ever keeps Mr. H. on the move
from one important point to another. The position is a great compliment
to the business skill and management of the subject of this article. That
he is worthy of the confidence placed in him by the officers of this great
corporation, is evident from the long series of years in which he has been
in their employ. As to the domestic relations of Mr. H., we would state
that he was married in 1845, to Miss Anna Wyatt, daughter of William Wyatt,
Esq., of Franklin precinct. He was among the first pioneers of Morgan county,
and is regarded as among its most prominent citizens. Six children are
the rest of his marriage - three boys and three girls. The oldest was twenty-five
years of age in August (1872), and the youngest, five years of age in July
(1872). We have given a terse and brief sketch of the life of Mr. H., so
full of striking and interesting events. What he is today is due to his
remarkable business adaptability, his knowledge of men, and that instinctive
love of order - a peculiar characteristic of great railroad men. Withal,
he is a kind, affectionate neighbor, hospitable to the strangers, and an
advocate of the right. His generosity is only equaled by his urbanity.
He is popular among both employers and employees, and is noted from one
end of the road to the other as a first-class business man.
James T. Holmes - Of all the early settlers of Mauvaisterre, none have a prouder record than Mr. Holmes. He was born in Holmesburg, Huntington county New Jersey, near the city of Easton, on the 24th of June, 1801. John Holmes, the father of the above, was of Irish descent, and immigrated to New Jersey several years prior to the revolutionary war. He resided in New Jersey while the war was in operation, and managed a large distillery and brewery. His business was very successful, and the name of John Holmes was synonymous with honesty and integrity. The tax on distilled spirits was two dollars per gallon, but Mr. H. cheerfully paid the tax, believing it the duty of every citizen to support the government in its struggles to throw off the yoke that bound her fast, and to aid in every way the weak, but energetic colonies. His son, James T., attended the common schools of the county, which at that time were possessed of considerable merit. Even in 1801, they prepared the student for college or active business, and were, in fact, one of the strong arms of the national government. When quite a young man, Mr. Holmes went to Pennsylvania, and engaged in contracting on the well known Pennsylvania Canal, which extends from Pittsburg to Columbia, on the Susquehanna. He was engaged in this occupation about ten years. Upon the completion of the canal, in company with the engineer in charge, Mr. H. went to Kentucky, and managed the construction of a large portion of the Louisville & Lexington Railroad. Mr. H. was the first contractor that broke ground on this railroad, which was among the first, if not the first, road in the country to carry passengers and freight. The bed was constructed of rock, and the rails were of strap-iron; the friction of the wheels caused the rock to become pulverized, and it was soon found impracticable to keep the road in repair and use rock for a road-bed. After completing the road as far as Frankfort, Mr. H. came to Illinois, and purchased a large body of land situated in sections thirty-four and thirty-five, and located on the same in the latter part of 1836. In 1835, in company with Dr. Early, of Springfield, he took a trip on a steamboat to New Orleans, and here changed boats and ascended the Red river as far as Nachitoches, intending to go to Texas, and thence overland to Illinois. On account of the Indian troubles in Texas at that time, the trip was abandoned. They returned to New Orleans, and retraced their journey to Louisville, arriving in the latter city in the early part of the spring of 1836. Mr. H. was married in the neighborhood of Lexington, and moved to Morgan county, Illinois, as above stated, in the latter part of the spring of 1836.
In those days gave was very plenty. The deer roamed at large up and down the Mauvaisterre valleys; wolves, - especially the prairie wolves, - preyed upon the sheep, insomuch that the farmers were obliged to house them, in order to protect them from their cunning foe. The Indians had disappeared from the country, and the only inhabitants were the settlers who had arrived within a few years. The prairie was diversified by beautiful groves of timber. This portion of the Mauvaisterre country, with its strips of woodland, resembled the foot of a hen. Directly Mr. H. added to his former purchase of five hundred acres, several hundred acres more of choice land, making in all twelve hundred. The first portion being partially improved, cost three thousand dollars, and the remainder from one and a quarter to forty dollars per acre. The latter price was paid some five years ago for improved land.
As to Mr. Holmes's domestic relations, we would state that he has had five children, of whom one son and two daughters are yet living. Mr. H. is in his seventy-first year, and yet, at that advanced age, is able to undergo considerable fatigue. He preserves to a remarkable degree, the elasticity of his earlier years, owing, no doubt, to his temperate life and active habits. As an instance of his remarkable physical powers, we would remark, that in 1832 the Asiatic cholera broke out among the railroad employees, and among the sick was the subject of this sketch. For two days he remained nearly dead; even the celebrated Dr. Dudley, of Lexington, pronounced his case hopeless. The struggle between his constitution and that dreadful disease was terrible, but the former finally triumphed. In a few days he was able to be about and to attend to his duties. During the epidemic all operations on the road were discontinued, several contractors died, and the citizens felt that if Mr. Holmes was taken away, the road would be abandoned. Mr. H. performed more work than any other contractor, and it is due to him principally that the road was urged on to completion. We have conversed with many Kentuckians from that section of the state who were conversant with Mr. H.'s early career as a railroad contractor, and they all unite in praising his energy and surprising business management. Owing to the reluctance of Mr. H., we are unable to swell more at length upon his enterprise in connection with this railroad, but we feel assured in stating that Mr. H. was among the earliest and most successful contractors in the country. If he had continued in the same line of business, he would have taken rank with the most celebrated modern railroad pioneers.
Mr. H. has exhibited the same energy as a farmer and stock-raiser
he displayed as a builder of railroads. His extensive farm, with all its
improvements, indicates the master hand that guides and manages its cultivation.
Situated, as it is, among the forks of the Mauvaisterre, affording a diversity
of land for grain and stock purposes, he has had an ample field for all
the experiments in the science of husbandry. His hospitality and generosity
are well known, and the people would mourn his death as the loss of a kind
benefactor and warm friend. Though not engaged in public affairs, he is
deeply interested in the same, and ever keeps alive to the important questions
which are engaging the attention of the people. As a public spirited citizen,
he has aided many of the improvements which have taken place in Morgan
county, and to him and his noble coadjutants we are indebted for many important
enterprises which have placed this section, as regards railroad facilities,
among the first in the state. As a friend of the church and her twin sister,
education, his name will be associated with many of our leading institutions
which make Morgan county unsurpassed for moral and intellectual privileges.
A man of honor, his business career and private life are without a single
transaction that would cast a blot or stain upon its fair reputation. When
the complete record of the pioneers of Morgan county shall become known
to the world, none will take a higher position than the subject of this
article, who has been identified in so many ways with her weal and woe.
The present generation, when they read his life, as a poor boy, a railroad
and canal contractor, and a farmer, cannot but be encouraged to follow
his noble example, that they, like him, may enjoy the fruits of industry,
and the calm consciousness that they have done something to make the world
wiser and better. We hope that Mr. H. will, for many years, remain among
the people to whom he has been so kind a friends, and that "when the
time shall come for him to draw the drapery of his couch about him, and
lie down to pleasant dreams,: he will feel that he has been rewarded, in
some degree, for his laborious and useful life.
Lumas T. Hoyt was born in Bennington county, Vermont, September 28, 1784. He resided in Vermont and Connecticut until September, 1838, when he came to Morgan county, and settled in Jacksonville, where he remained four years. He then removed to Waverly, where he now resides. He has worked on the bench, as a shoemaker, seventy-two years, and does good work still. He was married to Miss Lucy, daughter of Abel Allis, September 14, 1814. They have now living three children. His wife is still living, and able to do her own work. They are, in short, an extraordinary couple, having been active members of the Congregational church over fifty years. Mr. Hoyt is a man who has always abstained from all intoxicating drinks.
Michael Huffaker - This aged citizen was born on the 15th of June, 1800, in Wayne County, Kentucky. Wayne county, as regards soil, is one of the poorest in the state, and reminds the looker on of the most broken and rough portions of East Tennessee. The county joins Tennessee, and might easily be mistaken for a portion of the latter state. The grandfather of Mr. H. was of German extraction, and immigrated, with his people, to Virginia, when but a small lad. He married a girl of German birth, and had several children, among whom was Jacob, the father of the subject of this article. Jacob Huffaker was born in 1764. He married Margaret Bodkin. Miss Bodkin's family were of Irish extraction. She was born near King's Salt Works. About 1796, in company with two brothers, he came to Kentucky, and settled in Wayne county. The country was then a wilderness. Buffaloes, wolves, bears, and all manner of game, abounded. The distinguished pioneer, Daniel Boone, was then operating about one hundred miles north, and exploring that hitherto unknown country. The entire country was covered with a heavy growth of timber. The labors of the early settlers were extremely severe and wearisome. Trees were felled, hewed, and used in the construction of their houses and barns. Timber land was burned over in order to prepare for crops. These were only a portion of the troubles that perplexed the farmer. The soil was shallow and very poor in quality. Not being versed in agricultural chemistry, the land was soon rendered too poor for any crop. How little do we appreciate the struggles of those early farmers for the possession and maintenance of a home among those rugged hills. In spite of every obstacle they succeeded, at least, in populating the country, and adding to its wealth and influence.
Michael, at an early age, attended school in a little log house on
the side of a steep hill. The school house was two miles distant. When
the weather allowed farming he remained at home. In winter and foul days
he attended to his learning. Brief was his scholastic career, and his absence
from school so much prolonged that only a few principles were engrafted
on his young mind. He labored for his father till after his twenty-first
birthday, and then, inasmuch as he had had a desire to visit the prairies
of the upper countries, he started on a grip through Ohio, Indiana, and
Illinois. He wished to purchase land and have a home of his own. The trip
was a pleasant one, until he reached the vicinity of Springfield, Illinois.
When within six miles of the city he was seized with a sudden illness,
which caused his delay for some time. As soon as he was able to mount his
horse, he returned home to recuperate his health. He remained at home until
the next summer. During the next year (1822), at the age of twenty-two,
he was married to Miss Jane Bartleston, daughter of William Bartleston,
Esq., an old settler of the state, and among the men of mark, whom the
pioneers of that date were wont to honor and respect. In 1823 he started
on another tour to Illinois, and arrived in Springfield during the winter
of that year. He remained in Springfield until the spring when he came
to Morgan County, and located in Mauvaisterre precinct, arriving there
in the spring of 1824. Land could be purchased for one dollar and a quarter
an acre, the choicest pieces only bringing that amount, at private or public
sale, and upon the arrival of the emigrants, they had the selection of
the finest prairie and timber land in the state. Jacksonville had no existence,
and the hunter roamed over the present site of the city for deer and other
game. Wolves prowled around the sheep fold, and greatly disturbed the new
comer by preying upon his stock, and rendering the night hideous with their
barking. Here and there upon the prairie huge piles of buffalo bones cold
be perceived. Now and then a black bear would make his appearance, and
the hunters would gather together and have a long and jolly hunt for Bruin.
The hunting stories of those days cause the modern tales of the hunt to
sink into insignificance. We delight to dilate upon those good old days,
as they are represented to us by Mr. Huffaker. Now as to prices of their
produce, wheat, the very best, brought only twenty-five cents, corn from
eight to ten cents per bushel, and pork one dollar per hundred. Even at
those low prices little or no sale could be obtained. There was a very
limited amount of gold in the country, and this was controlled, for purposes
of circulation by a very few men. Had it not been for the venison and other
wild meat the settlers would have starved. Mr. H.'s wife died in 1833,
leaving seven children to be cared for by the bereaved father. He was again
married, at Springfield, in 1834, to Miss Frances J. Smith, daughter of
Edwin Smith, Esq., of Xenia, Ohio. Ten children were born, of whom six
are yet living to cheer their aged parents. Mr. H. remembers the passage
of the Mormons on their way from Missouri to Nauvoo. Troops were raised
in the neighborhood for the ward with Black Hawk, and other Indian chieftains.
The details of the early location of Jacksonville are very amusing. Comfort,
rather than fashion, was looked after, and the buildings were constructed
with regard to substantiability rather than elegance. The first hotel was
built of logs, was eighteen feet square,, and contained two rooms. It was
kept by Mrs. Carson, who presided over her hostlery to the satisfaction
of all. The city was the point to which all new arrivals came, and the
hotel was generally filled with immigrants. Upon the founding of Illinois
College, the city became noted for its educational facilities. This institution
exerted a beneficial influence upon the heterogeneous mass of humanity
which formed society at that time. When Mr. H. first came to Morgan county,
not a cabin could be seen where now Jacksonville is situated. About two
years afterwards, the state commissioners located the town. Springfield
then was a small village, where they kept the land office. Vandalia was
the capital, and the chief commercial point in the state. The scenes of
the "deep snow" are yet fresh in his mind. Mr. H. fully corroborates
the testimony of the other settlers, as given in the personal sketches.
Truly, those were strange times, when the deer would not run at the sight
of man. Thousands of deer, turkeys, etc., perished for the want of food.
This was a great loss to the country, as the citizens depended upon them
for food. Mr. H. is in his seventy-third years, and though afflicted with
rheumatism at the present, yet his general health is good. For nearly fifty
years he has exercised a great influence upon the surrounding country.
Mr. H. is a true type of those sterling characters of the past generation.
Through weal and woe he has kept the "even tenor" of his way,
and won a solid reputation for honesty, industry, and public spirit. From
a glance at the view of Mr. H.'s residence, among our illustrations, the
reader can form some idea of the remarkable changes which have been wrought
since his arrival in the county. The tall prairie grass has given place
to the timothy and the blue grass; the wild Indian has been succeeded by
the energetic farmer; and the rude log cabin by the elegant and palatial
mansion. Everywhere the evidence of civilization presents itself and denotes
the wondrous changes that have transpired since that important era in "Old
Settler" history - "the Deep Snow." When Mr. Huffaker came
to the state, his property consisted of two hundred dollars and twenty-five
cents, and what household goods could be packed upon the back of a horse.
He rode one horse and his wife another. The money, with the exception of
the twenty-five cents, was invested in land, and the remainder was depended
upon for food and other necessities. This incident indicates the poverty
of our early fathers, and is a touching contrast t the wealth, refinement,
and luxuries of the present age.
John A. Hughes was born on the 17th of April, 1803, in Fleming county, Kentucky. Allen B. Hughes, the father of the above, emigrated from Virginia, and came to Kentucky, with his parents, when the people were forced to live in stations, on account of attacks from the Indians. At that time Kentucky was a frontier state, and the journey thither was called going west. He was only nine years of age when he arrived in the state. After the death of his father, which took place a short time after their arrival, the support of the family depended upon him. He, young as he was, well and nobly sustained the part of protector for his mother and five sisters. When twenty-three years of age, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Kieton, daughter of Richard Kieton, a Methodist Episcopal clergyman, and an old settler of great repute, among the pioneers. Previous to, and shortly after, his own marriage, all of his sisters were married. He relinquished the homestead to one of his brothers-in-law, one of the conditions of the article of agreement being that he, 'the said brother-in-law" should well and faithfully look after the interests and support Mrs. H., the widowed mother of the subject of this record. About 1812, Mr. Hughes, with his wife and four children, emigrated to Ohio, and settled in Clermont county. The part of the county in which he lived was afterwards separated from Clermont and called Brown. While living here he was drafted for the war of 1812, then raging at its highest point. He hired a substitute for eighty dollars. The substitute, whose name was Theophilus Case, was only gone six months, never having been in any engagement. Mr. H. himself would have enlisted, but the large family depending upon him for support would not allow of his leaving home at that time. While in Ohio he managed a merchant mill and dealt in land. In both of these lines of business he was very successful for a while, but afterwards lost almost his entire property. He traded, by means of flat boats, with New Orleans, settling in that city flour, horses, lumber, &c. Twice on horseback he rode from New Orleans to his home in Ohio. One trip lasted over five months, and extended into the interior of the gulf states. Remained in Ohio nine years, and then removed to Illinois, locating in White county. Stayed here three years, and then removed to the vicinity of Jacksonville. Rented a farm for about two years, and devoted himself to farming and stock raising. He then leased a portion of the sixteenth section for ten years, and immediately commenced to improve the same. After living on this place five years, he sold his lease and purchased some land on Indian Creek, when he built a house and made other improvements. After living on this property five or six years, he sold out the farm and removed to the northern portion of the state, and staked out a claim on Rock river, in what is now known as Whiteside county. The land was not then in market, and he was forced to wait in order to complete the purchase of his claim. While making preparations to remove on to his farm, he died. However, his wife and children removed to the county and occupied the claim, which they afterwards purchased, improved the same, and made it one of the best farms in the county. Mrs. Hughes, about this time, removed back to Morgan county, and died very suddenly.
The subject of this article was married in White county, Illinois,
on the 20th of February, 1827, to Miss Elizabeth Webb, daughter of the
early pioneers of Illinois. The subject of this article, at the same time
as his father, leased a portion of section sixteen, and commenced farming
thereon. He sold at the same time as his father, and purchased one hundred
and sixty acres of land in section thirteen, near what is now known as
Murrayville. This land he still retains as a homestead. In all, Mr. H.
has purchased over a thousand acres of land, and deeded most of the same
to his children. Mrs. H. died on the 11th of June, 1861, after a sudden
and short illness. Mr. Hughes is in his 70th year, and preserves in a great
degree the strength of his earlier years. His mind seems active, and all
his faculties are alive, and his health seems to indicate a good old age.
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