NIANTIC TOWNSHIP

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Niantic is formed from parts of the congressional townships 16 and 17 N., R. 1 W., and contains twenty-eight full and two fractional sections. It is bounded on the north by Logan county; on the east by Illini and Harristown townships; on the south by the Sangamon river, and the west by Sangamon county. This territory, formerly classed under the head of swamp lands, was practically donated to Macon county, because it was regarded as absolutely worthless, while to-day it ranks among the best agricultural townships. The soil, composed of decayed vegetable matter, is a deep, rich, black loam, very fertile and productive. Willow Branch, with its several affluents, drain the lands and furnish water for stock purposes. The main line of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific railway passes through the township from east to west about a mile south of the centre.

Early Settlements--This township was among the earliest settled in the county. In the year 1825, Joseph Strickling, a native of either Ohio or Kentucky, settled in section 23, T. 16 N., R. 1 W., and to him belongs the honor of first settling what is now Niantic township. Mr. Strickling erected a log house and improved some land on section 23, where he resided for a number of years. His family was of ordinary size; some of them died and the others have moved away. At present none of the pioneer family are living in the county. Very soon after Mr. Strickling, Niantic received another settler in the person of William Turner, who came with his family from one of the adjoining counties and located on section 15, where he erected a log cabin and began improvements. From this time to the year 1840, there were but few permanent settlers. About the year 1840, a settlement was made by Joseph Blankenship on, or very near section 25, (Twp. 16-1.)

The first birth was that of a child of Wyatt Strickling, which occurred at a very early date after the first settlement of the Strickling neighborhood. Another child of Wyatt Strickling died a number of years after the settlement, and was the first death in the township.

A pay-school, taught by James Harper, in the house of a farmer living in the southern part of the township, was the first in Niantic. The first school-house was built of logs in 1847, and was located on section 23.

Rev. A.D. Northcutt, a very prominent gentleman in the early church and pioneer history of Christian, Macon, and adjoining counties, and at present a resident of Prairieton township, Christian county, delivered the first sermon in this township. The first local, resident preacher was the Rev. Dr. J.H. Hughes, who was a man of very fine attainments and an elegant and polished Christian gentleman. Revs. John W. Tyler and John England were also among the early preachers. A Dr. Stewart, who located in the town of Niantic in 1856, was the first physician.

In the year 1856, Joab Wilkinson was elected the first justice of the peace, which position he continued to fill for several years.

In the year 1855, Samuel power erected a blacksmith shop on section 11, and began smithing for the neighborhood.

The first mill of any kind erected was a horse-power saw-mill, by Messrs. Dingman and Sanders, on section 23, in the timber along the Sangamon, in the autumn of 1855.

Some of the earliest importations of the finer breeds of stock were as follows: in the year 1850, James Dingman brought from Kentucky some thoroughbred horses. Hugh Mooney brought to this township in 1876, an imported Norman horse, and later, in 1878 he purchased a herd of short-horn cattle.

The first entry of land dates back to November 30th, 1829, when Wyatt Strickland entered 80 acres in section 23; also on January 27th, he entered 80 acres more in same section. William Turner entered May 17th, 1830, 80 acres in section No. 15; all the above lands are in township No. 16 N. R. 1 west. The following lands are located in T. 17 N. R. 1 west. Wm. Constant entered April 18th, 1850, 80 acres in section 33. Charles W. Morgan entered June 14th, 1850, the S. 1/2 of the N.W. 1/4 and N 1/2 of the S. W. 1/4 of section No. 33, 160 acres.

Below we append the supervisors: J.H. Hughes, elected in 1860, re-elected in 1861; J.A. Pritchett, elected in 1862; J.W. Corbett, elected in 1863, and re-elected in 1864, 1865, and 1866; A.W. Prichett, elected in 1867; Sheldon Parks, elected in 1868; Shaw Pease, elected in 1869; Thomas Acorn, elected in 1870; S. Parks, elected in 1871, and re-elected in 1872; James Dingman, elected in 1873, re-elected in 1874; J.R. Ash, elected in 1875; A.C. Edgar, elected in 1876, and re-elected each year to the present.

Among some of the oldest and most prominent citizens now residing in this township may be mentioned: Geo. W. Gepford, a native of Pennsylvania, who came here in 1842, and now lives on section 11; Thomas A. Pritchett, a Kentuckian, who is now a merchant in Niantic, came in 1856; A.C. Edgar, James Hogen, J.S. Kizer, H.N. Clark of New York, and Jullinger, from Ohio.

Town of Niantic--is situated in section 11, of T. 16 N. R. 1 W., on the main line of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific railway, about eleven miles west of Decatur. It is surrounded by an excellent agricultural country, and large shipments of grain and stock are annually made.

When laid out, in the year 1852, just after the completion of the railroad by Calvin Lockhart and Thomas Lewis, the post-office was called Lockhart. The town was for many years called Long Point, so named from the Long Point slough, which lies south of the town. It was afterward known as Prairie City, and finally the present name Niantic was adopted. Jesse Lockhart erected the first house, in what is now the northern part of the town. Mr. Gansen, opened the first store of general merchandize soon after the town was laid out. In 1855, Calvin Lockhart was appointed the first post-master of Lockhart, which position he continued to hold for a number of years. Dr. E.S. Faris, an old and highly respected citizen still engaged in the practice of medicine in the town of Niantic, kept the first hotel opened in the town. Miss Ryan taught school in the year 1855, in a building situated on the south side of the railroad, and originally used as a warehouse by the company.

In the fall of 1858, a very destructive storm swept over the western part of the county, and Niantic was immediately in its path. The storm was seen coming from the south-west; and knowing the unsafe nature of the warehouse, then being used for school purposes, some of the citizens hastened to the building and warned the teacher and scholars of the approaching danger and assisted them out of the building. No sooner had this been done than the storm struck the house and completely demolished it.

In 1861, a school-house was built in Niantic, and Mr. Blanchard occupied it as the first teacher. It now has a good graded school.

Some of the earliest preachers, were the Reverends John Wilson, J.H. Hughes and J.W. Tyler, who preached in the warehouse, above-mentioned, soon after the laying out of the town. Rev. Benjamin Radford was the first local preacher. The Christian church erected by that denomination in 1867, was the first house of worship built in Niantic.

The steam flouring mill at present standing in the eastern part of the town, was the first and only mill of any kind built in the town. This was erected by J.H. Zarley, in 1868. A cooper-shop was opened by James Cunningham, in 1870. Samuel Powers kept the first blacksmith shop.

The town of Niantic, is at present in a very flourishing condition, as will be seen by the following list of business houses.

The I.O.O.F. anf I.O.G.T., each have lodges in Niantic, and they are in a prosperous condition.

Partial List of Patrons


NAME RESI'D OCCUPATION NATIVITY SET'D
BUCKLES, Dee Sec 24 Farmer & Stock Raiser Logan Co 1874
A.C. TURLEY Sec 24 Wife of Dee Buckles Logan Co 1874
CUNAGHAN, James Sec 12 Farmer & Stock Raiser Co Donegal Ire. 1868
CHOATE, Francis M. Sec 23 Farmer & Stock Raiser Scott Co 1876
Carrie A. HAVENS Sec 23 Wife of Francis M. Choate Shelby Co 1877
CLARK, Horace N. Niantic Physician & Surgeon NY 1859
EDGAR, A.C. Sec 28 Farmer & Stock Raiser Cass Co 1869
Elsie E. FORD Sec 28 Wife of A.C. Edgar AK 1859
GEPFORD, Geo. W. Sec 11 Miller, Grain Dir. & Farmer PA 1842
Harriet KITCH Sec 11 Wife of Geo. W. Gdpford PA 1859
HAGEN, James Sec 21 Farmer & Stock Raiser Tyrone, Ire. 1857
Catherine McCATH Sec 21 Wife of James Hagen Tyrone, Ire. 1857
HAGEN, John A. Sec 21 Son of Jas. & C. Hagen Springfield 1857
Mary Ann Hagen Sec 21 Daughter of Jas. & C. Hagen Springfield 1857
HALL, Charles A. Sec 12 Farmer Fayette Co KY 1863
Laura Aveitt Sec 12 Wife of Chas. A. Hall Macon Co ?
HENRY, John N. Sec 24 Farmer & Stock Raiser Lincoln Co KY 1868
M.A. DUNLAP Sec 24 Wife of John N. Henry Lincoln Co KY 1868
HILLINGER, James Sec 10 Farmer & Stock Raiser OH 1865
HILLINGER, Emery Sec 10 Farmer & Stock Raiser OH 1865
HILLINGER, Hiram Dec'd Father of James & E. Hillinger
Died 26 Dec 1872
OH 1865
Catherine WIKEL Sec 10 Widow of H. Hillinger VA 1877
JONES, J.W. Niantic Blacksmith & Wagon maker KY 1868
Margaret JONES Niantic Wife of J.W. Jones KY 1868
JONES, C.D. Niantic P.O. Clerk & son of J.W. KY 1868
JONES, Wm. C. Niantic Of the firm of Jones & Son KY 1868
KIZER, John S. Sec 10 Farmer & Stock Raiser IL 1865
Elizabeth DINGMAN Sec 10 Wife of John S. Kizer IL 1850
Mary A. KIZER Sec 10 Daughter of J.S. Kizer IL 1867
KIZER, Benjamin M. Sec 10 Son of J.S. Kizer IL 1869
Minnie A. KIZER Sec 10 Daughter of J.S. Kizer IL 1878
PRITCHETT, Thos. A. Niantic Merchant Bourbon Co KY 1856
Mary E. INGLES Niantic Wife of Thos. A. Pritchett Bourbon Co KY 1856
PRITCHETT, J.W. Sec 12 Farmer & Stock Raiser Bourbon Co KY 1864
Sarah J. INGLES Sec 12 Wife of J.W. Pritchett Bourbon Co KY 1864
RICE, J.H. Niantic Physician & Surgeon Adams Co 1875
Mary L. St. CLAIR Niantic Wife of J.H. Rice Sangamon Co 1875
RICHARDSON, C.B. Niantic Jewelry, Drugs, Notions & Musical Inst. Spencer Co KY 1877
SEELIG,Abraham Niantic Carpenter & Builder Blackf'd Co IN 1868
SIMPSON, Emmet W. Sec 22 Farmer & Stock Raiser Logan Co 1880
Jennie CLAYPOOL Sec 22 Wife of E. W. Simpson Morgan Co 1880
WRIGHT, Thomas Sec 21 Farmer & Stock Raiser Scotland 1875
Catherine E. SIMPSON Sec 21 Wife of Thomas Wright St. Clair Co 1875



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