The Pioneers Meet at the Park and Talk Over Old Times

Originally published in the Decatur Weekly Republican, on Thursday, 3 Sep 1889

Addresses by Rev. Bankson and Elder Northcutt - Names of Early Settlers

Old settlers' picnics are always interesting, and the present year witnesses today at Oakland park, the most interesting reunion of the pioneers of Macon county that has yet been held. There was a very large attendance and it is doubtful if there were ever more grayheads collected in the county. There were a few hours devoted to a comparison of notes as to the time at which the handshaker came to the county. One remembered the deep snow that fell a year or two after he came, but there were only a few of them. A few could recall the sudden freeze, which froze geese fast in the mud, and there were other reminiscences of an equally interesting character.

But the time for the formal exercises came on and the large assembly was called to order by the president, Dr. E.W. Moore, and after music by the Light Guard Band, Rev. A.D. Northcutt offered prayer and Rev. N.M. Baker - a native of the county, born in 1837, who lives on the same farm on which he was born - proceeded to deliver a most interesting address, dealing largely in recollections of the early day, some of them very laughable. He held up the lamp by the light of which he ground the lenses for the telescope he had himself constructed. He held up, also, an ancient sickle, and explained how the grain was harvested. The address was very entertaining, and was listened to with great interest.

Rev. A.D. Northcutt was then introduced, and proceeded to deliver a most excellent address, describing the mode of living, the sort of houses, the sports and pastimes, the religious meetings, the dress and habit of the pioneers. Mr. Northcutt is a most charming speaker especially at an old settlers' reunion.

The welcome announcement of dinner was made, and the old settlers and the younger ones scattered themselves about the part and enjoyed such a feast as only the old settlers know how to spread. There was no attemp at anything fine of stylish, but an abundance of good and wholesome food, and it was seasoned by the hearty good will and cheerful conversation of the olden time. As we go to press short speeches of the pioneers are going on.


Abraham Eyman, born in St. Clair county in 1803, is the oldest settler on the ground. He says he only knows one older native of the state, and he only beats him by a few months.

Oliver L. Stuart, one of the oldest natives of the county, was born on the spot now occupied by the store of C.L. Griswold, and in all probability played in his infant years upon the ground now occupied by the Republican office.

Hiram Ward, of Wheatland township, and Rev. N.M. Baker, of Long Creek, both born in 1837, are now living on the same farms upon which they were born.

The president of the reunion, Dr. E.W. Moore, is not only a native of Illinois, but the son of a native, his father having been born in the territory of Illinois in 1783.

After the dinner, which consumed nearly two hours, the pioneers gathered around the platform to listen to the short speeches delivered by the old settlers.

John Wilson was the first speaker, and he recalled the incidents of the past and spoke freely of the near approach of the inevitable end.

Abraham Eyman, the oldest settler on the ground, who was born in St. Clair county in 1803, spoke a few minutes. Said he was married in 1826 and lived with the same woman yet. He came to this county in 1856.

C.H. Garver came in 1839, and when he came rattlesnakes and wolves were plenty. He told of going to mill and staying over night and then having to furnish the power to grind his grist. He enhibited a hank of "home spun" made by his wife long ago.

E.O. Smith, of San Jose, Cal., was next introduced, and spoke of how glad he was to see his old friends. In his home county in California, there were sixteen of the old pioneers of this county still living there. He referred to his first syndicate ever formed in Macon county, of which J.J. Peddecord and himself were members. "Jas" furnished all the money he had - about $40 - and he put in the muscle, and they built a mill to grind corn. There were a good many anecdotes related, some of them very laughable. One of them was of the whiskey turning to water, which the speaker could not explain - probably "Jas" could.

William C. Smith told of having come in 1828, and of the deep snow of 1830, described the sort of boots they had for getting through the snow and of the corn dodgers baked in the ashes. He said they were good and wholesome and spoke of their medicinal properties.

John A. Draper said he was born in the county in 1828, on Stevens creek, and lived at the "old trading house" on the river, and he had been here all his life, except a few years spent in California where he went with E.O. Smith. He had married in this county and raised six boys, and as he was a widower now he felt a little nervous about giving his age away.

Hon. W.T. Morrett spoke of the meager educational, advantages enjoyed by the pioneers, but was proud that he had been born in Illinois - in Sangamon county, of which county this was then a part.

Fred Neintker was introduced as the oldest German settler in the county. He came here in 1843, with old Philo Hale. He related a funny anecdote of going to Stonington to mill and having to swim Mosquito creek.

Jesse Lockhard mourned over the degeneracy of the times, and that whicky cost twice as much as it used to.

David Martin spoke of the difference in the price of lime, and said his son used a great deal of gravel to make walks with, and that our gravel is the best in the country.

Hiram Ward spoke briefly of the fact that he was born on the farm on which he now resides, and had never lived anywhere else and had never been away from it ten days at a time.

John S. Kizer spoke of the mail facilities of the present day, so different from those of 45 years ago, when he carried the mail between Decatur and Springfield.

J.R. Gorin moved that hereafter the reunions be held on the fourth Tuesday of August, and it was carried.

Dr. E.W. Moore was re-elected president, in spite of his protest, and the reunion was at an end.

The following is the register of those present:

J.R. Gorin KY 1817 1828 1838
Eleanor Gorin VA 1823 1832 1832
A.D. Northcutt KY 1813 1836 1879
Mary Nortcutt KY 1825 1855 1879
Elizabeth Miller KY 1823 1827 1827
James Miller KY 1823 1829 1829
W.T. Moffett IL 1826 1826 1826
H.L. Moffett VT 1831 1854 1835
J.Y. Taylor IL 1819 1819 1836
E.W. Moore IL 1821 1821 1855
A.Eyman IL 1803 1803 1856
F.D. Scott IN 1819 1828 1834
B.W. Rose IL 1831 1831 1831
S.B.N. Vaughn IL 1831 1831 1851
M.I. Vaughn IL 1833 1833 1833
N.M. Baker IL 1837 1837 1837
Mark Morris OH 1817 1839 1839
J.B. Barnwell TN 1832 1833 1833
G.F. Cottle England 1837 1854 1854
John Good PA 1812 1838 1838
Joseph Cannon OH 1835 1846 1846
Alfred Florey IL 1827 1827 1827
Sylvester Davis IL 1834 1834 1834
John A. Myers IL 1837 1837 1837
James W. Myers IL 1841 1841 1841
Henry D.M. Hodge IL 1837 1837 1837
E.C. Hostetler TN 1836 1846 1846
H.A. Turpin IN . 1846 1846
F.M. Hostetler IN 1835 1836 1836
J.A. Draper IL 1825 1828 1828
James A. Wilson IL 1835 1835 1835
A_f C. Willard KY 1828 1831 1855
A.F. Smith IL 1848 1848 1848
G.W. McCullough NJ 1833 1851 1856
W.F. Muirhead VA 1826 1830 1830
M.J. Muirhead IL 1834 1834 1834
W.H. Carmean OH 1829 1849 1849
Willis Pope TN 1827 1827 1827
James Tate IL 1843 1843 1843
U. Huston OH 1824 1836 1836
W.A. Linthicum WVa 1834 1854 1854
F.A. Search OH 1818 1851 1851
William E. Nelson TN 1824 1857 1857
W.G. McDaniel IL 1832 1832 1832
F.A. Brown OH 1805 1859 1859
E.B. Chamberlin KY 1825 1830 1830
M.A. Lockhard IL 1830 1830 1830
Hiram Ward IL 1837 1837 1837
Clara E. Ward VA 1843 1850 1850
John M. Moffett IL 1836 1836 1840
John Stare PA 1826 . 1853
H.B. Matheny TN 1826 . 1840
M.J. Cunningham IN 1824 1828 .
A.C. Stevens KY 1824 . 1850
John Stickel PA 1818 1837 1837
William Winholtz MD 1836 1837 1857
Landy H. Martin IL 1858 1858 1858
J.M. Foley KY 1833 1847 1850
M.A. Dawson IL 1833 1833 1833
J.Q.A. Odor KY 1827 1852 1852
Jane Lingle PA 1851 1858 1858
Henry Hunsley England 1833 1852 18_2
Geo. Nebinger PA 1828 1856 1856
M. Elson OH 1815 1837 1839
Thomas S. Kiser OH 1831 1837 1850
A. Leforgee KY 1831 1854 1854
Elizabeth Winholtz MD 1806 1857 1857
Sarah E. Florey OH 1838 1856 1856
I.N. Martin OH 1832 1854 1854
J.E. Wheeler TN 1829 1829 1829
Mrs. E.E. Pugh KY 1814 1828 1831
T.H. Wingate NH 1816 1837 1849
George Stare PA 1829 1854 1854
James L. Peake D.C. 1830 1838 1853
H.J. Edwards IL 1837 1837 1837
Joseph Austin IL 1837 1837 1837
James Troxel IL 1843 1843 1843
John W. Hartley IN 1827 1840 1849
Polly Carter KY 1802 . .
Nancy A. Hartley KY 1831 . .
A.T. Mettlan PA 1830 1840 1840
J.H. Travis IL 1823 1827 1829
David Logan KY 1816 1833 1833
H.G. Wheeler IL 1835 1835 1835
T.G. Scroggin IL 1837 1837 1864
M.A. Stare PA 1836 1856 1856
Willis Johnson KY 1820 1837 1837
John Wane PA 1808 1864 1864
P.W. Blankenship IL 1832 1832 1832
T.J. Bohrer IL 1844 1844 1844
W.E. Gouge IL 1841 1841 1841
Allen Scott PA 1816 1856 1856
W.L. Bankson IL 1836 1836 1860
Wm. McDaniel KY 1823 1823 1823
Ira B. Curtis OH 1823 1835 1844
Mary E. Martin IL 1839 1839 1839
T.M. Price OH 1831 1834 1854
Joseph Dawson OH 1828 1848 1848
Lucy A. Jones IL 18_ . .
Mary E. Eichinger KY 1848 . 1853
J.W. Brown TN 1830 . 18_8
S.M.C. Davis IL 1841 . 1841
Daniel Stockey IL 18_0 1820 1864
C.H. Garver PA 18__ 1839 1839
J.D. Tait PA 181_ 18_9 183_
Daniel Gepford PA 1828 1840 1840
G.W. Betzer OH 1841 1841 1841
Margaret Garver PA 1821 1840 1840
Alfred S. Bailey VA 1833 1851 1854
G.E. Averitt IL 1847 1847 1850
Tabitha Hostetler KY 1816 1835 1835
E.L. Oliver IN 1821 1856 1856
A.C. Hawk IN 1839 1839 1878
L.Z. Wood IL 1839 1839 1878
Thos. Pettyjohn KY 1827 1829 1853
Charles Pettyjohn IL 1829 1829 1829

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