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This township is located in the north-eastern part of the county, and comprises the greater part of Township 17 North, Range 3 East, with seven section from the north-west corner of T. 17 N., R. 4 E., containing about twenty-three thousand and forty acres of land. It is bounded on the north by Friends' Creek township, on the east by Piatt county and Oakley township, on the south by Oakley and Decatur, and on the west by Hickory Point township. It received its name in honor of a Mr. Whitmore, one of those adventurous spirits, who regardless of old home comforts and its surroundings, pushed forward to expose the trackless West, and located in this township, built a log cabin and began farming.
The Sangamon river, which flows along the southern border, and its tributaries Friends' Creek, Stevens' Creek and a few other minor streams drain the lands and furnish an abundant supply of water for stock purposes. The Champaign, Havana and Western Railroad, running through the township from south-west to north-east, enters the township at section 31 and passes out at section 2.
This township was settled at an early date. In the year 1828 John Draper moved from Hickory Point township, whither he had removed from the Old Dominion with David Florey in 1825, and located on section 35 of Hickory Point. On his removal to Whitmore township, in 1828, Mr. Draper built a cabin on section 18, Tp. 17, R. 4 E., and began to improve his possessions, now occupied by Dr. John's tile works. Among other early settlers were Robert Stewart and John White, who came with their families not long after the arrival of Mr. Draper, and located near the center of the township. By the year 1840 there had grown up quite a neighborhood in the vicinity of sections 15, 16, 21 and 22, Tp. 17 N., R. 3 East.
The first marriage to occur in Whitmore was that of John Draper to Miss Amy Florey, (a sister of David Florey, who came from Virginia in 1825, and located in Hickory Point township, and a few years later came to Whitmore township.) Mr. Draper and Miss Florey were married by the Rev. Samuel Miller. As will be seen the Draper family occupy and deserve the foremost position in the pioneer history of Whitmore township. The birth of Anderson Draper, son of John Draper and Amy Draper, was the first to occur within the limits of what is at present Whitmore township. Cynthia Draper was the first person whose death occurred.
By the year 1841 the needs of the settlers became such that the erectiion of a school-house was a necessity, and accordingly a log school-house was erected on section 22, Tp. 17 N., R. 3 E., by the combined contributions of money and labor of the residents of the neighborhood. This building was also used for all church purposes, and the never-to-be-forgotten old-fashioned singing school. The first preacher to deliver a sermon in this township soon after its settlement was a Methodist circuit rider. The Rev. A. Bradshaw was the first minister to locate. Soon afterward the Rev. Mr. Lewis, one of the early pioneers in the cause of the Redeemer, came to, and located with the limits of Whitmore. The first resident physician was Dr. Walters, who administered to the wants of the sick, and bound up the wounds of the afflicted. Soon after we find Dr. De Watney, a gentleman of French extraction, contending for a portion of the patronage of the settlers of this and adjoining townships.
Mr. Henry Rhodes, a very pleasant and intelligent old gentleman, who is still living a short distance west of Oreana, has the honor of being the first justice of the peace. The first blacksmith shop was opened and occupied by George Eicholtz, who was ably qualified to attend to the wants of the settlers in that line of business. We also find S.T. Miller on section 21, town 17, Range East, with a blacksmith shop able to do all kinds of work in that line.
The Tile Works of Dr. John, of Decatur, are located on section 18, T. 17, R. 4 E. They have an annual capacity of 175,000 feet of tileing, and are run to their full extent. These works were built by Messrs. Martin and Johns, and subsequently purchased by Dr. Johns, who is now the sole proprietor. The first land entries were made by John White, May 8th 1830, eighty acres in section 13, T. 17 N., R. 3 E., John Draper, April 15th, 1831, eighty acres in section 18 T. 17 N., R. $ E. The following are the supervisors who have represented the township:
James Lichtenberger, elected in 1860
Henry Rhodes, elected in 1861
James Lichtenberger, re-elected in 1862
John Gill, elected in 1863
Charles Wooster, elected in 1864
Joshua Green, elected in 1865, re-elected in 1866
James Lichtenberger, re-elected in 1867
J.G. Harnesberger, elected in 1868, and re-elected in 1869
James Lichtenberger re-elected in 1870
Joshua Green, re-elected in 1871 and 1872
J.C. Ruddock, elected in 1873, '74, '75, '76, and '77'
C.H. Garver, elected in 1878
Richard Kirby, in 1879, and is the present incumbent
Daniel Florey, a very old and highly respected citizen, a native of Virginia, came to this county in 1825, and is now living on section 21. His first wife came in 1828, and died in 1834. O.L. Stewart is a native of this county, born in 1833, and now resides on section 14. Geo. W. Betzer, living on section 13, is a native of Ohio, and emigrated here in 1841. John Magee also came in 1841, and now lives on section 29. He is a native of Delaware. J. Ray, David Ray, J.T. Stearnes, and Samuel T. Miles are prominent among the oldest and most influential citizens now living in the township.
Oreana--is a village located on section 9, Tp. 17, R. 3 East. It is situated on the beautiful prairie, and is the only village or town in this township. It lies on each side of the Champaign, Havana Western Railroad, which traverses this township. The first house erected in Oreana was a dwelling, built by Henry Morrison, in the year 18--. In the same year S.G. Coale opened the first store of general merchandize, which business he followed for a number of years. Another important event in the history of Oreana was the establishment of a post-office, with S.G. Crocker as post-master. In 1874 the Baptish Congregation had so increased in numbers to be able to build a church, thereby being entitled to the honor of erecting the first church edifice in the village. The Rev. Mr. Ingmeyer was the first minister to locate in Oreana. Dr. Cheneworth was the first physician to practice medicine in this village. Oreana is a live business point, and commands the trade of quite a large territory. It is about seven miles north-east from Decatur.
The following is a list of the present business houses in this place:
General Stores--Frank M. Pratt; Ruddock & Kirby
Grain Dealers--Frank M. Pratt; Day, Sons & Co.; Ruddock & Kirby
Whitmore township comprises some of the best farming lands of Macon county, and is well adapted to agricultural pursuits in all its branches--including its kindred industry, stock raising. Large quanities of corn, flax, wheat, oats, hay, potatoes, and vegetables of all kinds, are raised here annually. Its territory is admirably drained by the Sangamon river, which forms the greater part of its southern boundary, and Friends' Creek and its tributaries, which flow through the eastern portion of Tp. 17, 4. The farm improvements are among the most substantial in the county, and its citizens are a moral, industrious and energetic class of people.
Partial List of Patrons
Betzer, Geo. W. Sec 13 Farmer & stock raiser OH 1841 Catherine Coleman Sec 13 Wife of Geo. Betzer OH 1841 Florey, David Sec 21 Farmer & stock raiser Wythe Co, VA 1825 Isabella Wright Dec'd 1st Wife of D. Florey, Died 1839 Mont. Co, VA 1828 Rachel Rittenhouse Sec 21 Present wife of D. Florey Harrison Co, VA 1834 Green, Joshua Sec 31 Farmer & stock raiser England 1864 Anna Dodson Sec 31 Wife of Joshua Green Green Co, IL 1864 Harnsberger, Geo. G. Sec 19 Farmer & horse & hogs Clark Co, OH 1865 Mary Ann Scott Sec 19 Wife of Geo. Harnsberger KY 1865 Kirby, Richard Sec 14 Farmer, Stock raiser & Supervisor DE 1868 Sophia I. Ruddock Sec 14 Wife of Richard Kirby IL 1868 Magee, John Sec 29 Farmer & Stock Raiser DE 1841 Elizabeth Norris Sec 29 Wife of John Magee Scioto Co OH 1841 Miles, Samuel T. Sec 21 Blacksmith PA 1856 Mary Ann Hess Sec 21 Wife of Samuel T. Miles PA 1856 Petzer, Anthony L. Sec 13 Farmer & Stock Raiser OH 1841 America Smith Sec 13 Wife of Anthony Petzer IL 1865 Ray, Joseph Sec 6 Farmer & Stock Raiser IL 1842 Ray, David Sec 6 Farmer & Stock Raiser IL 1847 Rainey, C.P. Sec 8 Farmer & Stock Raiser St Clair Co OH 1867 L.C. Irwin Sec 8 Wife of C.P. Rainey St Clair Co OH 1867 Stuart, O.L. Sec 14 Farmer, Stock Raiser & Town Clk Decatur 1833 Elizabeth Kile Sec 14 Wife of O.L. Stuart OH 1844 Stearnes, Joseph T. Sec 31 Farmer & Breeder of Fine Horses MA 1857 Martha E. Bower Sec 31 Wife of Joseph T. Stearnes KY 1857
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