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This township, lying on the west side of the county, is bounded on the north by Austin, on the east by Hickory Point, on the south by Harristown, and on the west by Niantic township and Logan county. The surface is a level prairie. The soil, like the adjoining townships, is rich and productive. It is well drained by Jones' Creek in the north-west corner, Citch Branch in the central part and Willow Branch which heads in section 35, and runs in a westerly direction and leaves the township in section 31. The Pekin and Decatur Railroad enters it on section 6, runs diagonally across the township, leaving it on section 24. The name Illini, is an Indian name, and means "real men" or "superior men." Some of the early explorers wrote the name of this tribe Illini, and others Illinois.
There were no settlements made in Illini until the year 1850, when Walter Turner emigrated from Ohio, and settled on or near what is now section 31, where he erected a frame dwelling-house and began farming. Mr. Turner is still residing in the township, having moved, however, to the north-western part, where he is engaged in farming.
Later in the same year, William Peed, from Morgan county, Illinois, and Humphrey Scroggins, from Logan county, Illinois, settled near Walter Turner. These families formed a nucleus around which the settlements rapidly increased with families from the east, principally from the granite state.
In the autumn of 1857, a pay school was opened by a Miss Dudley, who continued to teach in one of the farm-houses, until the spring of the year following, when a frame school-house was erected on section 34. Miss Dudley then taught a public school in this building on its completion.
The first sermon preached in this township was by a Methodist cirduit rider, from Illiopolis, in the year 1856. Rev. John Hughes was the first resident preacher. Illini remained destitute of a house of worship until the year 1875.
John Peed and Jemimiah Hensen were the first couple married. Carter Scroggins, a son of Humphrey Scroggins, was the first child born. This occurred in 1851 or '52.
In 1853, occurred the death of a lady named Sarah Eyman, who was a member of the family of Mr. Eyman, who came from St. Clair county, Illinois, at an early date. This was the first death. The first Justice of the Peace was Lewis Eyman. Mr. Rodgers was the first to open a shop and do general blacksmithing.
In 1871, occurred the establishment of a post-office at Warrensburg, with R. Schrader, as first post-master. Dr. Holbrook, who located in Warrensburg, was the first physician.
The first entry of land dates back to July 18th, 1849, when Walter Turner entered 80 acres in section 33, and two tracts in section 34, of 80 acres each. And on the same day Humphrey Scroggins entered S.W. 1/4 of section 34, 160 acres, all in T. No. 17 N. R. 1 east of the 3d P.M.
The first introduction of fine stock was made by Skillman Allen. In 1855, he brought a herd of short-horn cattle from Kentucky; also in the same year he had imported from Kentucky a lot of Cotswold sheep. In 1857, J.H. Pickerell bought and introduced the first fine hogs. These were the Berkshire breed. In 1862, he brought some fine south down sheep from Kentucky. During the same year, Samuel Batchelder brought into the township some Morgan and St. Lawrence horses, which were the first well-bred horses.
Following is a list of the supervisors since township organization:
J.H. Pickerell, elected in 1864; John S. Childs, elected in 1865, and re-elected in '66 and '67; J.C. Tucker, elected in 1868; J.J. Bachelder, elected in 1869, and re-elected in '70; J.C. Tucker, elected in 1871, and re-elected in '72; L.R. Morse, elected in 1873, and re-elected each succeeding year up to '76; E.J. Roberts, elected in 1877, and re-elected each year, and is the present incumbent.
Peter Wise, a Pennsylvanian, who came to the county in 1850, now lives on section 11; M.E. Batchelder, on section 19, came from New Hampshire in 1854; C.F. Demsey, a resident of Warrensburg, is an Ohioan, and came in 1853; J.T. Clough, living on section 32, is a native of New Hampshire, and emigrated in 1861; these are a few of the prominent men now residing in the township.
The town of Warrensburg is beautifully situated on section 14, on the line of the Pekin and Decatur Railroad, about nine miles north-west of Decatur. It was laid out by Messrs. Warren and Durfee, soon after the construction of the railroad. The town was named in honor of Mr. Warren, one of the original proprietors. John Ritchie erected the first dwelling-house. The first store was kept by Samuel Ritchie, just north of the present limits. The post-office was established in 1871, with R. Schrader as post-master. Jonas Hawood kept the first hotel. Samuel Ritchie was also the first blacksmith.
The Husman Brothers were the first persons to erect a mill. It was a very old and odd pattern, and presents a very strange appearance. It is a wind-mill of the old New England style, and was built for grinding corn meal and buck-wheat flour. It is still standing and in operation.
The wagon-shop of Messrs. Workman & Binkley was the first establishment of the kind in the town. Dr. Holbrook was the first physician. In 1874, the Methodist denomination erected the first church. Rev. Mr. Morland delivered the first sermon in the town, and Rev. Mr. Simmons was the first local preacher.
Miss Harman taught the first school. The school-house was built in 1874.
Messrs. Baughn & Kepler built the first tile works.
General Stores--Ritchie & Bro.; A.W. Leavitt; Shaw & Six. Elevators--Wm. Ritchie, capacity 12,000 bushels; D.N. Dunlap, capacity 12,000 bushels. Drugs--C.F. Demsey. Meat Market--C.M. Dillinger. Physicians--C.F. Demsey, J.N. Fandle. Harness, Boot and Shoe Store--M.R. Schrader. Grange Store--G.W. Thompson. BlacksmithEdward Weekly. Blacksmiths and Wagon Makers--Workman and Binkley. Tile Works--Kepler & Helsebus, capacity 150,000 per annum.
Partial List of Patrons
Albert, Martin Sec 12 Farmer & Breeder of Morgan Horses OH 1866 Eldorado Worman Sec 12 Wife of Martin Albert VA 1866 Batchelder, M.E. Sec 19 Farmer & Stock Raiser NH 1854 Sarah A.L. Batchelder Sec 19 Wife of M.E. Batchelder NH 1854 Buckley, Charles Sec 1 Farmer Eng. 1861 Eliza A. Haywood Sec 1 Wife of Charles Buckley Eng. 1861 Batchelder, D.B. Sec 32 Farmer & Stock Raiser NH 1868 Abbie M. Bailey Sec 32 Wife of D.B. Batchelder MA 1868 Clough, Jeremiah T. Sec 32 Farmer & Stock Raiser Merri'c Co, NH 1861 Abbie J. Batchelder Sec 32 Wife of Jeremiah T. Clough NH 1861 Demsey, C.F. Warr'burg Physician & Surgeon OH 1853 Clarinda Gates Warr'burg Wife of C.F. Demsey OH 1874 Dunlap, D.N. Warr'burg Grain Dealer Sangamon Co IL 1867 Minson, Entiles Sec 1 Farmer & Stock Raiser IN 1871 Emma Fish Sec 1 Wife of E. Minson IN 1871 Roberts, E.J. Sec 16 Farmer & Supervisor '77-'81 NH 1868 L.S. Daniels Sec 16 Wife of E.J. Roberts NH 1868 Wiser, Peter Sec 11 Farmer & Stock Raiser PA 1850 Anna B. Schroll Sec 11 Wife of Peter Wiser PA 1853
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