FRIENDS CREEK TOWNSHIP
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Friend's Creek township has the largest area of any in the county. It contains forty-eight full sections, of very fertile and productive land. It is located in the extreme north-eastern corner of the county, and is bounded on the north by DeWitt county, on the east by Piatt county, south by Whitmore and east by Maroa townships. The surface is a beautiful undulating prairie, well drained by Friend's creek, which enters it in section 4 of T. 18 N., R. 4 E., and meanders in a south-westerly direction through the territory, until it reaches the north-eastern corner of section 25 in T. 18 N., R. 3 E., where it changes its cours to a south-eastern direction, passing out of the township on the south of section 31, T. 18 N., R. 4 E. The main tributaries are East and West Forks, Kickapoo Branch, and several small affluents. There is a fine belt of timber along the banks of Friend's creek, and there are scattering patches along all the minor streams.
The township took its name from Friend's creek, which stream was named in honor of George W. Friend, a native of Ohio, who emigrated to Illinois in 1822, and settled near this stream in section 22, T. 18 N., R. 3 E, which was the first settlement within the present borders of this township. He brought with him his family, which was quite large, and a good supplyof stock. Immediately upon his arrival he erected a log-house, which was the first one built here, and at the present time some of the logs may be seen. In 1824 Charles Nelson, a Kentuckian by birth, settled on section 12, T. 18, R. 3 E., and in the same year Nathan Burrill, who was also a native of the "Buck-eye State," emigrated to and settled on section 19 of this township. Josiah Abrams, another Ohioan, removed to Sangamon county in 1822, and in 1828 came to this township and began farming on section 24. Two years following this Wm. Dickey, a native of Kentucky, emigrated from that state and settled on section 19, near Mr. Abrams. John Dickey came in 1829, and located near William Dickey on section 19. The Wilson family was also one of the early settlers in Friend's creek, some of them having arrived as early as 1830, and others of them a few years later. In 1830 Nathaniel Brown came from Tennessee, with a family of thirteen persons, bringing with him considerable stock and provisions; and after making the trip from that state to this township he had 150 lbs. of pork, 20 lbs. of tallow, and several bushels of corn. They arrived in 1830, just after the fall of the "deep snow". The family moved into a house purchased by Mr. Brown. The snow was then four or five feet deep, and the man from whom he had purchased the place told him that it was enclosed by a seven-rail fence, although none could be seen; but in the spring, when the snow melted off, the fence was found there as represented.
Many inconveniences and hardships were experienced during that winter. Although many of the settlers had the means to purchase food, yet there could scarcely any be obtained, and consequently many of them and their stock suffered much for the want of necessary food to sustain life. Corn was as high as $1 per bushel. Many of the settlers lost several horses and cattle during the winter. The nearest mill in those days was thirty miles distant, in what is now Logan county, on Kickapoo creek. This trip generally took three or four days; each person, as was the custom, being required to wait his turn. This mill was owned by John Hoblet. For many years the settlers were compelled to haul their grain to Chicago or St. Louis in order to find a market, and then would only receive thirty cents per bushel for wheat. Threshing wheat was done by clearing a space of ground, throwing the bundles of wheat on the same, and trampling it with horses. The falls and winters in those days were spent principally in hunting and trapping. The game consisted chiefly in deer, turkey, prairie chickens, mink, coon, otter, musk-rat, etc.
The first marriage in Friend's creek took place in 1829, at the residence of Thomas Pettyjohn. The parties in this wedding were Levi Abrams and Susan Pettyjohn. This couple deserve the honor of having had born to them the first child in this township; the child was named Eli Abrams, and was born in 1829.
In 1835 a log school-house was built on section 25. It was very primitive in style, and was used for the combined purposes of school-house, church and camp-meetings. The following year John Heath taught the first school in the township. The first sermon was delivered by Rev. William Owens. Among other preachers in early times were Revs. Chase, Taylor, and Haines. The first mill in this township was a water-power saw-mill, located on section 31, T. 18 N. R. 4 E., propelled by the water of Friend's creek. It is now converted into a steam saw-mill.
John Dickey was elected the frist justice of the peace in 1836, and held the office for sixteen or twenty years, and probably would still have held it longer had he not met with a strange death. In early times, as before mentioned, it was sometimes necessary to haul wheat and other grain to St. Louis and Chicago to market. Mr. Dickey started for Chicago with a load of wheat, but subsequent events showed that he never reached that point. Several days after he had left his body was found in the road with the skull crushed, apparently by the wagon; but the real cause of his death is a mystery to this day. Andrew Dickey was elected to fill the office made vacant by the death of Mr. John Dickey. David Troxel was another of the early justices. In 1831, soon after his settlement in this township, Nathaniel Brown opened a blacksmith-shop on section 23. The Tile Works of Reecer Bros., located on section 25, T. 18, R. 3, were built in 1877 by Messrs. Reecer & Nymon. They have a capacity of 175,000 feet per annum.
The first land entries were made by the following persons:
August 28th, 1830, Josiah Abrams entered eighty acres in section 24
March 25th, 1831 Elizabeth Stevenson, eighty acres in section 24
May 2nd, 1831, William Dickey, eighty acres in the same section--all in T. 18 N., R. 3 E
The following entries were made in T. 18 N., R. 4 E
March 3d, 1834, John Robinson, eighty acres in section 8
March 14th, 1834, David Cordell, forty acres
Oct 14th, 1834, John Dickey, forty acres, and same day he entered 99.38 acres, both tracts in section 30
The following named persons have represented this town in the Board of Supervisors since township organization:
D.K. Wilson, elected in 1860, and re-elected 1861
C. Lukens, elected in 1862
Andrew Dickey, elected in 1863
C. Lukens, re-elected 1864
D.K. Wilson, re-elected 1865
William Daves, elected in 1866 and re-elected 1867
S. Payne, elected in 1868 and re-elected 1869
F. Swantes, elected in 1870
John Marsh, elected in 1871
R.H. Park, elected in 1872 and re-elected in 1873
J. Ruddock, elected in 1874
J.W. Brown, elected in 1875, re-elected '76, '77, and '78
W.A. Van Leer, elected in 1879 and re-elected 1880, and is the present incumbent
Prominent among the older settlers now living in this township may be mentioned:
James Querry, a native of Virginia, who settled in this county as early as 1831, and his wife, Elizabeth S. Williams, also a Virginian, who came in 1825.
Israel Fout, of Virginia nativity, located in the county in 1839, and his wife in 1849
John G. Jimison, a Scotchman, settled in the county in 1834, and now resided in section 4 of T. 18, R. 3
Sarah A. Brennan, the widow of William Dickey, a Canadian by birth, came to the county in 1849, and now lives on section 34
Alexander Greenfield settled here in 1843
George S. Young, a native of Ireland, came in 1848, and his wife in 1835
Joseph G. Kile, came in 1846; he is a native of Ohio, and resides on section 28, in T. 18, R. 4.
Argenta--is a flourishing little village on the line of the Champaign, Havana and Western railroad, about fourteen miles north-east from Decatur, and is the only railway station in this township. There are three villages in Friend's creek township, and a striking peculiarity is that they are all within a very short distance of each other. This place is the newest, but not the least important in point of business. It was laid out by R.B. Ridgers immediately after the completion of the C.H. and W.R.R. The first store was erected by Garver & Co. F.F. McMullin established the first wagon-shop, and B.S. Schall did the first blacksmithing. Dr. Denisson was the first physician. The school-house was built in 1874. The town has a very heavy shipping business in cattle, hogs, and grain. The present business of the town is contained in the following list:
General Store, Garver & Co.
Boots and Shoes, John Keck
Drup Store, S.C. Ham
Wagon Shop, F.F. McMullin
Blacksmith-shop, B.S. Schall
Physicians, Drs. Denisson and S.C. Ham
Grain Dealers, Dennisson & Co.
Newburg--This village is located in the north-east corner of section 36, T. 18, R. 3, and 31 of T. 18, R. 4, and is just one mile due east from Argenta. It was laid out in 1854 by William Dickey, who was one of the earliest settlers in the township. In 1856 a store with a general stock of merchandize was opened by William Dowling. The first wagon-shop opened was that of Philip Carver's, in either 1858 or 1859. Dr. R.F. Carr, who is still engaged in the practice of medicine in Newburg, and is one of the most prominent physicians in this part of the county, was the first physician to locate here. The first school-house was built in 1854; it was a frame structure. The present business is represented in the following list:
General Store, J. Benford
Drug-store, Dr. R.F. Carr
Blacksmith-shop, Thomas Strickler
West Danville--is located on section 31, T. 18, R. 4, and for a number of years during the early period of its existence it was known by the norotious name "Hell's Half Acre". Calvin Whitcombe built a distillery here in 1857, and operated it for a number of years, but it is not at present running; he also built a steam saw-mill, which is still in operation. Messrs. V.D. & R.J. Ross erected a steam grist-mill, which is still running, and does a good business.
Partial List of Patrons
Adams, David M. Sec 30 Farmer & Stock Raiser Centre Co, PA 1862 Mary E. Haukins Sec 30 Wife of David Adams Clinton Co, OH 1862 Brennan, Sarah A. Sec 34 Widow of Wm. Dickey Canada 1849 Hiram H. Warner Dec'd First Husband of S.A. Brennan
Died Jan 3 '52
OH 1851 William Dickey Dec'd 2d Husband of S.A. Brennan
Died Jan 17 '75
KY 1828 Isabella Foster Dec'd First Wife of Wm. Dickey
Died May 30 '52
TN Coulter, Wm. K. Sec 6 Farmer & Stock Raiser Juniata Co, PA 1854 Rebecca Hill Sec 6 Wife of Wm. K. Coulter Marion Co, OH 1854 Carr, Robert F. Newb'g Physician, Surgeon, Drugist,
Sussex Co, NJ 1856 Emily A. Smick Newb'g Wife of Robert F. Carr Macon Co, IL 1838 Drake, Sylvanus P. Sec 31 Farm, Stock Raiser & Deal. Macon Co, IL 1848 Mary Hunsinger Sec 31 Wife of Sylvanus Drake White Co, IL 1879 Evey, Michael Sec 8 Farmer & Stock Raiser Franklin Co, PA 1855 Sarah Peddicord Sec 8 Wife of Michael Evey Madison Co, OH 1855 Fout, Israel Sec 6 Farmer & Stock Raiser Hardy Do, VA 1839 Eliza A. Dodds Sec 6 Wife of Israel Fout KY 1849 Greenfield, Alexander Sec 7 Farmer & Stock Raiser Ross Co, OH 1843 Eliza Jane Rutz Sec 7 Wife of Alex. Greenfield North'ton Co, PA 1851 Hedges, Caleb Sec 24 Farmer & Stock Raiser Fairfield Co, OH 1867 Mary Augustus Sec 24 Wife of Caleb Hedges Fairfield Co, OH 1867 Hoover, Moses Sec19 Farmer & Stock Raiser Housmar, Humphery Sec 19 Farmer & Carpenter OH 1849 Amelia Ayers Sec 19 Wife of Humphrey Housmar NY 1851 Jimison, John G. Sec 4 Farmer & Stock Raiser Glasgow, Scot. 1834 Drucilla Beebe Dec'd Wife of John Jimison
Canad. Co, NY 1834 Nancy Jimison Sec 4 Pres. Wife of John Jimison Erie Co, PA 1872 Jones, Almon H. Sec 16 Farmer & Stock Raiser Warren Co, OH 1856 Emily J. Piper Sec 16 Wife of Almon Jones Piqua Co, OH 1856 Keller, Nelson Sec 19 Farmer, Husb. of H.V. Keller Wyandotte Co, OH 1850 Harriet V. Keller Sec 19 Relict of Isaac Vantries
Pres. wife of Nelson Keller
Summit Co, OH 1858 Isaac Vantries Dec'd 1st Husb. of Harriet Keller
Died May 12 '78
Marion Co, OH 1862 Kile, Joseph G. Sec 28 Farmer & Stock Raiser Piqua Co, OH 1846 Elizabeth Carver Sec 28 Wife of Joseph G. Kile Macon Co, IL 1840 George J. Carver KS Father of Eliz. Carver KY 1825 Eliza Carden Dec'd Mother of Eliz. Carver
Died Dec 9 '69
Fairfield Co, OH 1837 Lee, John Sec 33 Farmer & Breed. Poland China Hogs Hocking Co, OH 1863 Rosa Jones Sec 33 Wife of John Lee Ross Co, OH 1863 Kezia Jones Sec 33 Resides with Sister Ross Co, OH 1863 Myers, William J. Sec 7 Farmer, Stock Raiser, J.P. Marion Co, IL 1851 Miriam K. Querrey Sec 7 Wife of Wm. J. Myers Macon Co, IL 1851 McKinney, Wm. A. Sec 28 Farmer & Stock Raiser Orange Co, IN 1851 Caroline M. Child Sec 28 Wife of Wm. A. McKinney Wash'gton Co, IN 1851 Miller, Joseph Sec 20 Farmer & Stock Raiser Lycoming Co, PA 1854 Jane E. Smith Dec'd First wife of Jos. Miller
Died March 24 '58
PA 1854 Catharine E. Reed Sec 30 Wife of Joseph Miller Belmont Co, OH 1866 Dinwiddie, Samuel C. Dec'd Late husb. of Margaret Orr
Died Jan 6 1880
Sangamon Co, IL 1857 Margaret E. Orr Sec 20 Widow of Samuel Dinwiddie Morgan Co, IL 1847 Park, R.H. Sec 21 Farmer & Stock Raiser Madison Co, KY 1861 Mildred Gillespie Sec 21 Wife of R.H. Park Johnson Co, IN 1861 Querrey, James Sec 24 Farmer & Stock Raiser Botetourt Co, VA 1831 Elizabeth S. Williams Sec 24 Wife of James Querrey Pittsylvania, VA 1825 Rinehart, James I. Sec 33 Farmer & Stock Raiser Hampshire, VA 1852 Eliza E. Cornell Sec 33 Wife of James Rinehart Hardy, VA 1859 Rinehart, Joel Sec 33 Father of James Rinehart Hampshire, VA 1852 Sarah McCartney Dec'd Wife of Joel Rinehart
Died May 1 '66
Hampshire, VA 1852 Spurling, Reuben Sec 2 Farmer & Stock Raiser Hampshire, VA 1859 Sidney Jones Sec 2 Wife of Reuben Spurling Hampshire, VA 1859 Swinehart, Samuel Sec 36 Farmer & Stock Raiser Licking Co, OH 1867 Minerva Kelsey Sec 36 Wife of Samuel Swinehart Boone Co, IL 1851 Taylor, William Sec 28 Farmer & Stock Raiser Hunterden Co, NJ 1865 Sarah J. Hixson Sec 28 Wife of William Taylor Jersey Co, IL 1865 Troxell, James B. Sec 30 Farmer & Stock Raiser Macon Co, IL 1843 Harriet N. Jones Sec 30 Wife of James B. Troxell Marion Co, OH 1854 Van Leer, W.A. Sec 20 Farmer, St'k Raiser & Sup. Chester Co, PA 1855 Josephine L. Colladay Sec 20 Wife of W.A. Van Leer Phila., PA 1851 Wilkinson, Jackson Sec 30 Farmer & Stock Raiser Hocking Co, OH 1864 Mary Morrison Sec 30 Wife of Jacison Wilkinson Hocking Co, OH 1864 Williams, A.H. Sec 1 Farmer & Stock Raiser Sumner Co, TN 1852 Lucinda Ogdon Sec 1 Wife of A.H. Williams Edgar Co, IL 1852 Young, George S. Sec 18 Farmer & Stock Raiser Co. Down, Ire. 1848 Ottillia Long Sec 18 Wife of Geo. S. Young Piqua Co, OH 1835
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