MT. ZION TOWNSHIP
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This township as organized comprises an area of thirty-nine square miles, or twenty-four thousand nine hundred and sixty acres. It is situated south of Long Creek, west of Moultrie county, north of Milam, and east of South Wheatland and South Macon townships. Mt. Zion is well drained by Finley, Big and Sandy Creeks and their affluents. The streams all run in a northerly and westerly direction, and through Long Creek their waters flow into the Sangamon river.
Timber--There are many beautiful natural groves in this township, pricipally along the water courses, which even to this day are fringed along their banks with elm, maple, oak, hickory, walnut and other forest trees. Originally the surface was covered with about one-third timber, the balance being prairie land of the richest quality.
Productions, etc--This township is particularly adapted to grazing, and yields large quanities of corn, oats, hay, wheat, rye, flax, and cereals of all kinds grow in abundance. It is also noted for its prolific crops of fruits and vegetables.
Land Entries--The following are the first lands entered; Henry Traughber entered June 4th, 1829, the east half of the north-east quarter of section No. eight, containing eighty acres. Elisha Moore entered same year 80 acres in section No. 9. The following lands are in same Precinct but in Range 4 east. Robert Wilson entered January 8th, 1833, 55.59 acres in section No. 6. William Lacy entered July 15th, 1836, 33.97 acres in same section.
Early Settlers--James Finley is regarded by most of the old residents as being the first settler in the territory now comprised within what are now the limits of Mt. Zion. In the spring of 1827, he located with his family on section 10, Tp. 15-3. He was a Kentuckian by birth. His cabin was built near a little grove of timber of rough unhewn logs. In 1829 Alexander W. Bell settled on section 4 about one mile north-west of Finley's place.
Another early settler was Benjamin Wilson, who was among the early and prominent citizens of Macon county, and came in 1827 and was one of the county commissioners who assisted in the county organization. He held the position for a great many years. He was born in Guilford Court House, in North Carolina, and removed thence to Tennessee, and afterward to Illinois. He married Jane Warnick in the state of Tennessee, who was a sister of "Uncle Billy" Warnick, the first sheriff of the county. Their children were, Polly, Rachel, Peggy Smith, Robert, Nancy, Hannah, and John Wilson, who was born in Rutherford county, Tennessee, in 1813, came to Illinois in 1828, and was married to Nancy Wilson, March 1, 1832, who was born July 6, 1813, in Green county, Tennessee, and became a resident of Macon county about 1830. Of their children--
Benjamin T. was born August 19, 1836; died February 5, 1854.
Mary A. was born October 23, 1833, and married Joseph M. Dawson, who was born April 5, 1828. Of their children--
John A. was born July 8, 1853. Thomas M. was born April 6, 1855. Nancy A. was born January 19, 1857; died December 29, 1857. Luella B. was born August 4, 1859. C.E. was born January 18, 1863. Edwin P. was born December 17, 1864. Oscar W. was born April 26, 1867.
Andrew Wilson was born March 3, 1785, and was married to Mary Ann Wilson, who was born January 30, 1788. They removed from East Tennessee to Macon county about 1830. Mr. W. died August 10, '44, and Mrs. W., September 17, '72. Of their children--
Thomas B. was born July 26, 1807; died July, '73. Alexander M. was born May 6, 1809. Eliza D. was born April 15, 1811; died September 13, '15. Catharine was born ____ 21, 1816, died January 7, '55. John A. was born January 9, 1819; died December 18, '21. James J. was born November 12, 1822; died April 28, '54.
John Smith settled on section 9 in 1829, a little west of Finley's residence. He moved from Rutherford county, Tennessee, to this county. In March, 1829, Allen Travis settled on section 3 (Tp. 15-3) he was born May 18, 1789, in York district, South Carolina. In 1805 his father removed with the family to Livingston county, Ky., where Allen was married, October 5, 1801. The Travis family were early residents of Illinois, having settled in Wayne county in 1821, and came to this county as above stated. Allen came here with his brothers, Finis and Thomas, and James D. Campbell, Andrew and John Davidson.
Thomas Travis was born in South Carolina, and was married before removing to Illinois, to Sarah Davidson, and settled one mile and a half north-west of Mt. Zion. Finis Travis was born in Kentucky, in 1810, in what is now Crittenden county, and was married in 1840 to Nancy J. Foster, who was then the widow of William Foster; her maiden name was Bell. She died, and he married Nancy Mahollen; both are now deceased. Harvey Travis was born in Wayne county, Ill. in 1823, and is now a resident of Decatur, but came when a lad to Mt. Zion with the balance of his family. Another prominent family in early times were the Traughbers.
Henry Traughber was born January 9, 1803, in Logan county, Ky.; came to Illinois in November, 1825; stayed there until 1829; then came to Macon county, and was married to Nancy Smith, who was born in Tennessee and died in August, 1863. Of their children--
Rev. Daniel Traughber was born in Logan county, Ky., in May, 1800, and came to Illinois in 1837 or '8, and settled on Big Creek, in Mt. Zion township. He married Mary Banks, in Kentucky, by whom he had four children--
Robert S., born September 2, 1830; died February 8, 1863; married Elizabeth Bell. David, born September 2, 1832; died in infancy. A.C., born April 3, 1833; married V.C. Whitehouse. M.E., born about 1843; married Wm. Cox; dead. M.J.C. married D.P. During. M.R. died in 1868. Caroline married _itt-----; died in 1874.
Elizabeth married Robert Lansden, Wilson county, Kansas. Gabella married Robert Foster, Wilson county, Kansas.Mr. T. married a second time to Elizabeth Foster, by whom the following child was born--Cyrus, who lives in Ottawa, Kansas.
Mr. T. married a third time to Eliza Smalley, by whom the following children were born--
Mary A. married John Edwards; lives in Wilson county, Kas. Daniel B.; dead. Harris lives in Wilson county, Kan.Mr. T. moved to Fredonia, Kan., in 1872 and now resides there.
Another noted family were the Wheelers--in "Smith's History" we find the following in reference to them:--
"William Wheeler, Sr., was born in Virginia about 1790, and married Elizabeth Hays, who was born in the same state. Mrs. W. died about 1836, and Mr. W. in 1866. Their children were--James, Stacy, Henry, William, Jr., Elizabeth, Raleigh, Burton, Larkin, and Nathaniel. Mr. Wheeler and family removed to Illinois, and settled in Macon county in 1828.
"James Wheeler was born in South Carolina in 1799, and died in 1867. His wife was Margaret Mayberry.
"Stacy Wheeler was born in 1801, in Tennessee, and was married in Tennessee to Mary Y. Braden, who was born January 4th, 1800. of their five children--Elizabeth E. was born May 7th 1826; married David Brett; died 1864. Samuel R. was born Aug. 16, 1827; married Jemima Abrams, who was born in 1828, in Illinois. Wm. E. was born Oct 23d, 1868; married Ellen Frazee; he died 1875. Nancy J. was born Jan. 8th, 1830; married Samuel Woodward, first husband; Mason Packard, second husband; now resides in California. And _ was born Jan. 16th 1832; married N.E. Cox, who was born in Scott county, Ill., 1837.
"William Wheeler, Jr., was born on the 28th of December, 1809, in Rutherford county, Tennessee; was married October 27th, 1831, to Sarah A. Ward (daughter of Jerry Ward), who died in August 1869. Mr. Wheeler has been prominently connected with the affairs of the county, and has been repeatedly elected sheriff, assessor and collector. Of their ten children, but two are living. Mary E., who married Thomas Inscho, now resides in San Jose, Cal.; Lewis Cass. Andrew M. died in '69; Calvin R. died in '61; Lucinda K. died in '63; Wm. l. died in 1866; Henrietta died in '62; Jas. C. died in '51; Thos B. died in infancy, and Alice in 1874. Elizabeth Wheeler was born in 1811, and married Wm. Ward, the father of Franklin and Hiram Ward, well known in the county. Raleigh Wheeler was born in 1813, and died in 1834; his first wife was Rebecca Travis and second Mary Fields. Burton Wheeler was born in 1815, and subsequently moved to Moultrie county. Larkin Wheeler was born in 1815, and died in 1838. Nathaniel Wheeler was born in 1819, and died when young."
James D. Campbell settled in section 5, Tp. 15-3, in 1830. He was born in North Carolina, June 26th, 1803, removed to Caldwell county, KY., and thence to Wayne county, Ill., in 1826, thence to Sangamon county in 1828, and to Macon county in '30. He married in Kentucky to Lavina Travis. Mr. Campbell was a member of the county commissioners' court, and for many years a justice of the peace--he died in 1864.
David Foster and family settled on section 6 (Tp. 15-3) in 1828. He was a Tennesseean, a farmer, and also a minister of the C.P. Church.
Early Marriages--John C. Foster and Emily Montgomery were the first persons married in the township, the ceremony being performed in 1831.
The first persson born here was Robert S. Traughber, on the 2d of September, 1830. The first death was Thomas Nelms in 1830.
In 1832 the first school-house erected in the township was built on sec. 4 (Tp. 15-3); it was a log structure, with puncheon floor and benches. James Scott was the first teacher.
The first sermon preached here was in 1828, by Rev. David Foster, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. Among the other early preachers who occasionally held service here were Rev. Neill Johnson, and Daniel Traughber, Cumberland Presbyterians, and Rev. J.M. Peck, a Baptist clergyman, who became noted in the early history of the state. He resided in St. Clair county. Mr. Peck was a scholarly man and published several books and pamphlets treating on the early history of Illinois.
The first Sunday-school was organized in 1834 at the school-house above mentioned, and was a union school, where the children of all denominations congregated.
First Mill was built by Robert Lowe in township 15-3 on sec. 2 in 1835. It was a band mill run by horse-power, and served for several years as a great convenience to the early settlers, who would come for miles around to get their conr ground.
Early justices of the peace were J.D. Campbell, Alonzo Pierce, and Mr. Schuffield.
Among the first physicians who practiced here were Dr. Buckworth and Dr. Blaylock. The diseases in the early times were principally chills and fevers.
Improved Stock--In 1855 John T. Campbell introduced the Hamiltonian breed of horses from Kentucky. Thomas Davis brought into the township some improved Durham cattle in 1848, and the same year an improved breed of Merino sheep. In 1837 Robert Lowe introduced a small flock of Cottswold sheep, and Poland China hogs were brought here, by G.A. Smith, about the year 1860. The stock of the township now comprises many of the best breeds, and much attention is paid to stock-raising by the farmers.
RailroadsMt. Zion is well supplied with railroads. The P.D. & E. and Midland enter the township on section 6, and leave it on section 25. Both roads run over the same track from Hervey City to Decatur. At Hervey City the Midland changes it course, and goes due east, leaving the township on sec. 9 (in Tp. 15-4).
SupervisorsIn 1860, on the adoption of township organization, Mt. Zion was erected into a voting precinct, and the following gentlement have served the township as supervisors.
W.C. Myers, elected in 1860; re-elected in 1861
B.W. Davidson, elected in 1862; re-elected in 1863
John Scott, elected in 1864; re-elected in 1865
John A. Henry, elected in 1866; re-elected 1867 and 1868
R.M. Foster, elected in 1869; re-elected 1870
Wm. Davis, elected 1871
G.A. Smith, elected 1872
William Davis, re-elected 1873 and 1874
J.A. Henry, re-elected in 1875
W.H. Wallace elected in 1876; re-elected 1877 and 1878
Stephen Mahannah, elected 1879
R.T. Williams, elected in 1880.
Village of Mt. Zion--is situated on the line of the P.D. & E. and Midland railroads on sec. 4, Tp. 15-3, and quite a thriving little village. It was laid out in 1860 by S.K. Smith, and the first house was erected by Andrew Wilson, and Skillman & Mays kept the first store. The first post-office was kept at the store of Skillman & Mays. The first hotel was erected by Dr. Blaylock, and kept by John McMillen. A blacksmith shop was carried on the present site of the village, in 1851, by G.W. Riber. Dr. Buckworth was the first practicing physician. Early preachers were A.J. McGlumphy, J.T.A. Henderson, and Robert Cordon. Among the first teachers, A.J. McGlumohy, P.H. Crider, and C. W. Kinsolvin.
Present Business--Ellis & Davis, general merchants. J.A. Ellis, post-master. R. Brownlee, druggist, and dealer in paints and oils. G.W. Riber, blacksmith and wagon-maker. A. Greenfield, dealer in general merchandise. J.E. Davis, one of the enterprising citizens of the village, operates a saw-mill and tile factory. R.L. Hochaday, general merchant and proprietor of hotel. K.W. Conn, general merchant. J.H. Hutchinson, boot and shoe maker.
The town has a large four-roomed graded school building, erected by the liberality of private citizens.
There are also two churches--a Cumberland Presbyterian and a Methodist church.
An odd fellows' lodge was established here Jan 8th, 1862, and its beneficial effects are felt in the community.
Mt. Zion is a prosperous and growning village, and is situated in a beautiful district of country, and surrounded by an intelligent and enterprising people.
Hervey City--is located near the centre of the township at the junction of the P.D. & E. with the Midland railroad. The present business of the fillage is carried on by--G.W. Conn, general merchant. A.M. Phillips, proprietor of hotel and postmaster. D.S. Shellabarger & Co., grain buyers. Eli Ulery, dealer in and shipper of stock.
Partial List of Patrons
NAME RESI'D OCCUPATION NATIVITY SET'D BELL, A.W. Mt. Zion Retired Greene TN 1829 Nancy BROWN Dec'd Late wife of A.W. Bell
Died 13 Sep 1846
Wilson TN 1830 Mary MONTGOMERY Mt. Zion Pres. wife of A. Bell Ruth'rd TN 1835 BROWNLEE, R. Mt. Zion Druggist Shelby IL 1871 Caroline PAYNE Mt. Zion Wife of R. Brownlee Pic'way OH 1871 CONN, K.W. Mt. Zion General Merchant Garrard KY 1865 Mary F. NICHOLSON Mt. Zion Wife of Kemp Conn Garrard KY 1865 DRAPER, J.A. Sec 21 Farmer & Stock Raiser Macon IL 1828 Sarah W. JONES Sec 21 Wife of J.A. Draper Madison OH 1839 FOSTER, D.L. Mt. Zion Farmer & J.P. Macon Co 1848 Anna JONES Mt. Zion Wife of D.L. Foster Macon Co 1852 GROUND, P.R. Sec 13 Farmer & Stock Raiser NJ 1857 Margaret C. FRIZELL Dec'd First wife of P.R. Ground
Died 27 Jan 1860
Cass Co IL 1857 Angeline JONES Dec'd 2nd wife of P.R. Ground
Died 5 Dec 1874
Macon Co 1838 HOCKADAY, Robert L. Mt Zion Prop. Mt Zion Hotel & Mer. Jeff'son Co OH 1856 Susan M. ROOT Mt Zion Wife of Robert L. Hockaday Genesee Co NY 1868 MAHANNAH, S. Sec 8 Farmer & Stock Raiser Green Co PA 1851 Mary C. WILSON Dec'd First wife of S. Mahannah
Died 14 Dec 1862
Macon Co 1836 Mary J. PICKARD Sec 8 Pres. wife of S. Mahannah Maury Co TN 1861 OUTTEN, P.S. Mt Zion Retired Farmer Fayette Co KY 1852 Mary J. ROSS Mt Zion Wife of P.S. Outten Wilson Co TN 1852 OUTTEN, George T. Sec 10 Farmer & Stock Raiser Cass Co IL 1852 Maggie L. BELL Sec 10 Wife of George T. Outten Macon Co 1852 PARR, William S. Mt Zion Farmer & Stock Raiser Caldwell Co KY 1853 N.M. SMITH Mt Zion Wife of Wm. S. Parr Macon Co 1837 PHILLIPS, Asa M. Hervey Cty Farmer & Stock Raiser Green Co TN 1875 Margaret PENNINGTON Hervey Cty Wife of Asa M. Phillips Breathitt Co KY 1875 TURPIN, Wm. S. Sec 13 Farmer & Stock Raiser Macon Co 1848 Jennie CASTELLO Sec 13 Wife of Wm. S. Turpin DeWitt Co 1864 WALLACE, Wm. H. Sec 15 Farmer & Stock Raiser Macon Co 1848 WHEELER, Wm. Sec 24 Farmer & Stock Raiser & ex-sheriff TN 1828 Susan WARD Dec'd Former wife of Wm. Wheeler
Died 9 Aug 1869
TN 1829 Sarah JONES Sec 24 Pres. wife of Wm. Wheeler Marion Co 1826
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