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Milam is situated in the extreme south-east corner of the county, and comprises the north half of the congressional township 14 north, range 3 east, with one tier of sections on the south from township 15 north, range 3 east. It contains nineteen square miles, or twelve thousand one hundred and sixty acres of choice prairie land, bounded on the north by Mt. Zion township, on the east by Moultrie county, on the south by Shelby county and on the west by South Macon township. The soil is a rich black loam, averaging about two feet in depth, adapted to the growth of all the cereals usual to the county, but especially to the culture of corn. The surface is generally level, and is much in need of artificial drainage, which is just being understood and introduced.
The name of Milam was suggested by J.B. Gleason, from the fact that the Milam apple thrived better in that locality than any other. The township was organized in the spring of 1870, at the instance of J.B. Gleason and others. It was struck off from Mt. Zion. The first settlement began in the year 1851, when James Greenfield and his son, Jesse Greenfield, located in the northern portion of its border, erected a dwelling, and made some improvements. Joel Cloud settled in section twelve in 1857, and David J. Freeland from Orange county, North Carolina, settled also on section twelve in 1858. There were also a family name Hale, that ettled here at an early date. Milam is the newest township in the county, and with the exception of those above mentioned it remained unsettled until after the late civil war. In 1865, J.B. Gleason, located with his family and began the settlement of the south-eastern corner. David Shelton arrived the same year. Also Frederick and Henry Wehrman settled and commenced farming. Richard Cribbett, J.W. Smith, James Kerr, William Meyers, John W. and William Dudley, William Rutledge and a few others arrived within a brief space of time, and assisted in establishing the agricultural and commercial properity of the township.
Franklin Cloud, son of Joseph and Nancy Cloud, was the first child born in the township. Silas Rutledge and Oliver Smith were the first couple married. The first death was that of Philo Hale.
The township was resurveyed by special provision of the Legislature and county court, at a cost of some two thousand dollars, corners established and roads laid out. Immediately after its organization and among its first enactments, a stock law was voted, which has worked with entire satisfaction, and has added much to the convenience of all citizens as well, as aiding in a more rapid improvement of the county, as well as the stock.
The first land entries were made by Benjamin Durgin, August 23d, 1852, to wit: the N.E. 1/4 of section No. 1, 160.24 acres. Sarah Nash entered on same day 164.18 acers in same section. The next entry was made by Andrew Libby same date, 160 acres in section No. 1. Theodore Brooks entered 160 acres in section No. 1, township No. 14 N. R. 3 east.
The inhabitants are divided in nativity, between the eastern, southern and middle states, and a few Americanized Germans. They are all sober, intelligent and enterprising people. There are six hundred and thirty-one inhabitants; one hundred and fifteen families and dwellings, and four school-houses. There are three school districts and halves of two others. Though having no house especially dedicated to public worship, yet the people almost universally belong to some one of the evangelical denominations, each of whom have houses of worship just outside of the township. There is in fact not an infiedl reident in Milam. A noteworthy fact is that in this township there is no preacher, no doctor, no lawyer, no pauper, no drunkard, no empty houses and no family without a house.
J.B. Gleason was elected the first Justice of the Peace, and has held the office ever since. Geo. A. Bartlett, was the first collector; W.E. Kyer, first assessor; James M. Kerr, first town clerk. The supervisors that have been elected to represent Milam, are: J.B. Gleason, in 1870; G.A. Bartlett, 1871; re-elected in 1872; J.W. Rogers, 1873, re-elected 1874; W.E. Kyer, 1875, re-elected 1876 and '77; John Vangundy, 1878, re-elected 1879; A. Dickson, elected 1880.
Partial List of Patrons
NAME RESI'D OCCUPATION NATIVITY SET'D BARTLETT, Geo. A. Sec 8 Farmer & Stock Raiser Madison Co IL 1868 Hettie Naftel Sec 8 Present wife of Geo. Bartlett Guernsey Co IL 1873 Isabelle McNickle Dec'd First wife of Geo Bartlett PA 1868 DICKSON, Adam Sec 2 Farmer & Stock Raiser Scotland 1859 Hattie J. Gleason Sec 2 Wife of Adam Dickson OH 1865 FREELAND, David J. Sec 12 Farmer & Stock Raiser NC 1837 Martha Sawyer Sec 12 Wife of David J. Freeland Coles Co IL 1849 GLEASON, J.B. Sec 14 J.P. & Retired Farmer Hartford CT 1865 Rececca L. Little Sec 14 Wife of J.B. Gleason MA 1865 MERRIS, Ellery M. Sec 32 Farmer & Stock Raiser Sangamon Co IL 1865 Nancy A. VanGrundy Sec 32 Wife of Ellery M. Merris Madison Co IL 1865 McREYNOLDS, J.C. Sec 13 Farmer & Stock Raiser E. TN 1865 Mary A. Morrison Sec 13 Wife of J.C. McReynolds Boston MA 1865 WEAR, John A. Sec 13 Farmer & Stock Raiser Fayette Co IL 1862
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