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1882 History - Chapter 16

[Page 145] Chapter XVI – Beaver Creek Precinct

The precinct of Beaver Creek, to which this chapter is devoted, lies in the southern part of Bond County, directly south of Greenville, and comprises Township 4 north, Rang 3 west, together with a tier of fractional sections along Shoal Creek on the western side of the precinct; ...

Settlements were made very early in the present precinct of Beaver Creek. The first white man of whom we have any account of making a settlement here was James BLIZZARD, in the winter of 1817-18, unless we except “Old Kenson,” as he was called, and COX, who was murdered by the Indians near the present town of Dudleyville. Of Old Kenson there is nothing but a vague tradition. It is said that he lived in a hollow sycamore tree in Shoal Creek bottom, near where the Vandalia Railroad now crosses (whether the “hollow sycamore” stood in this precinct or not we are unable to say), and that he was there during the war of 1812. When the few people then living in Bond County fled to the forts for safety from the Indians, “Old Kenson” remained in is “den,” looking after his hogs, and hunting. When the war closed, and the people returned to their cabins, “Old Kenson,” like the Arab, pulled up his hollow sycamore, or his tent – “And as silently stole away,” leaving no trace behind. What became of him or whither he went no one ever knew. He utterly refused to go into the fort with the other whites, alleging there was no real danger, and that the Indians would not molest him.

Mr. BLIZZARD made the first permanent set-

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tlement, as we have said, in the winter of 1817-18. He settled on the northwest part of Section 7, near where the schoolhouse now stands. He has two sons living here, J. J. and William M. BLIZZARD; a daughter, Mrs. Harriet A. GOWER, lives in Missouri. A Mr. JAMES settled on Section 3, about 1825, and a man named HARLAN settled near Dudleyville, on a place since owned by his son. A Mr. HOFFMAN, John HENRY and A. G. MILLS also settled near. Wilson BROWN came in soon after BLIZZARD and settled on Section 6. Abraham McCURLEY and family settled on Section 3, in 1830. Richard BRIGGS came in with Wilson BROWN and settled in the same neighborhood. McCURLEY has a daughter still living in Bond County – Mrs. Mary WOLLARD, wife of Rev. J. B. WOOLARD, of Mulberry Grove. Wilson BROWN has two sons, Charles and Marion, living in the county. Andrew GREEN settled on Section 18, and was a blacksmith – the first perhaps in the precinct. James KIRKPATRICK and Samuel G. MORSE settled a little south of HARLAN, and William BURGESS settled on the west side of Beaver Creek, near the county line. As early as 1826, the CRUTCHFIELD brothers, Joseph and Jacob, settled on Section 30; they have descendants still living here. The DRAKE family, who were from Tennessee, settled on the same section. DURHAM and PHIPPS came in about 1826; PHIPPS has a daughter, Mrs. GOODSON, and DURHAM a son, Gideon DURHAM, living in the neighborhood. John HENRY was an early settler, and the first Postmaster in the precinct. The “old fort,” mentioned so extensively in preceding chapters of this work, stood on Section 7, the land now owned by the BYRNES heirs.

About the year 1826 or 1827, the McCASLANDs, James McCASLAND, and his sons, John and Hugh, came into the precinct. They were from Kentucky, and John settled on Section 11; Hugh settled on Section 23, but afterward moved on to Section 11. He finally moved to Montgomery County, where he now lives. A Mr. HARLAN settled on Section 15 in 1825 and 1826. Andrew MILLS and family, from Tennessee, settled on Section 14. Joseph MILLS, a descendant, still lives in the precinct. A family of BROWNs came in early and settled on the same section with MILLS. Balaam METCALF, from Tennessee, settled on Section 14 about the year 1828. He has a son, Henry METCALF, still living in the precinct. William DOWNING settled on Section 24, and afterward sold out to ALLEN. Joseph MEYERS settled on Section 22. This comprises a list of the early settlers so far as we have been able to learn anything concerning them.

... A man named COX, who had built a cabin, near or a little below where the village of Dudleyville now stands, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the people, refused to take refuge in the forts during the war of 1812, but remained at his cabin several miles distant. He was a brave man, a celebrated Indian fighter (considering himself a match at any time for half a dozen “red skins”), and a thorough frontiersman. One day, during his absence, a party of Indians attacked his cabin, and, among other depredations, carried off his daughter a captive. She was rescued,

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However, a few hours later, without injury other than a severe fright. After this, he deemed it prudent to remove his family to the fort, but he persisted in visiting his cabin every day “to look after things,” until the Indians finally looked after him. Going to his cabin one day as usual, accompanied by his little son, they were fired upon by a party of Indians, who had concealed themselves in the house, and were both killed. Their fate was a sad one, but was nothing more than had been anticipated and predicted by his friends. The incident, with its attending circumstances, is more particularly noticed in a preceding chapter.

The first settlers in this section had to go to Edwardsville to mill, an undertaking that sometimes occupied several days or weeks. The first mill in this precinct, of which we have any account, was a horse-mill built by William DOWNING, and was one of the early institutions of the community. For a number of years, it did good service, and was a great accommodation to the people. A carding-mill, or carding-machine, as they were more commonly called, was built by Milton MILLS on Section 13, about 1823 and 1824, and was the first, not only in this precinct, but the first in the county. Before it was put in operation, the people carded their wool themselves on hand cards, or took it to Edwardsville. This mill was shipped here from Kentucky, and was successfully operated for a great many years. Other pioneer industries were confined to blacksmith shops, stores, and such other business as the wants of the time demanded. ...

In 1869, a circumstance occurred near the little village of Dudleyville, which cast a gloom over the entire community. We allude to the brutal murder of Mrs. Louisa McADAMS, in July of that year, by John MOORE, a near neighbor. He went to her residence in the absence of her husband, grossly insulted her, and when she attempted to escape from him, he pursued her and cruelly murdered her by cutting her throat from ear to ear. For this crime, he was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to be hanged by Judge GILLESPIE. He made a full confession of his guilt, which was afterward published, and, on the 23d of October, 1869, he expiated his crime upon the gallows, under the sentence of the court - the only execution that has ever taken place in Bond County.

There are two villages in Beaver Creek Precinct, viz.: Dudleyville and Wisetown. The former was surveyed and laid out by R. K. DEWEY, for John DUDLEY, the proprietor of the land, March 14, 1857. It is situated on Section 3 of Township 4, Range 3, and is five miles from Greenville on the Carlyle road, surrounded by an excellent farming region. It bears the name of Dudleyville, for its founder and proprietor, and, for a small place, does considerable business. Mr. DUDLEY inherited the land upon which the town stands, through his marriage with Fanny BLIZZARD, daughter of one of the early settlers of the precinct. He kept the first store opened in Dudleyville. Fred KAHN was the first blacksmith; H. C. DUNHAM was probably the first physician of the place, and F. THRANER was the first Postmaster. THRANER was among the very first settlers in Dudleyville, and built the best storehouse in the place, and which is still in use by W. D. ROCKWELL, the present merchant. About this time, a number of German families settled in the village, and opened shops of different kinds. F. GERIES

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built a cooper shop, and John SCHLUP, a wagon shop. R. W. CHAPMAN and brother came in soon after KAHN, and remained several years. There are now two blacksmith shops kept by Albert KEAGY and A. W. REED. The town now has about twelve families, comprising some fifty inhabitants.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Dudleyville was organized so long ago (about 1820 it is believed) that no one now can give the names of the original members, except James BLIZZARD and several members of his family. The church was originally organized at his house by (it is believed) Rev. Simeon WALKER. Services were held at the house of Mr. BLIZZARD for several years, then at Rebecca HOFFMAN's, his daughter, and subsequently at schoolhouses. The church building was erected about 1856 - 57, and was a frame 26 x 40 feet. It cost $900, and was built upon land donated by John DUDLEY for the purpose. There were about fifty members when the church was built at Dudleyville, and the Rev. Daniel OGLESBY was the minister, and J. J. BLIZZARD the class-leader. The membership is still about fifty; the Trustees, J. J. BLIZZARD, Thomas HARLAN, Jesse McADAMS and H. W. BLIZZARD; and the pastor, Rev. J. H. McGRIFF. A Sunday school continues the year round, of which J. J. BLIZZARD is Superintendent, and which has a regular attendance of about sixty persons.

The Free Methodist Church of Dudleyville was organized in the fall of 1880 by Rev. F. M. ASHCRAFT, and was originally composed of eight members as follows: P. M. ROGERS and wife, Wilford HOCKETT, Ellen UPCHURCH, Charles MAYFIELD and wife, John UPCHURCH and James GARRETT. The church edifice was built in the summer of 1881, is a frame 28x40 feet in size, and cost about $800. The first class-leader was Wilford HOCKETT; Trustees, P. M. ROGERS, Wilford HOCKETT and James GARRETT. The church has a membership at present of about twenty-five, under the pastorate of Rev. C. C. BRUNER. Sunday school organized when the church was built; the first Superintendent was James GARRETT; the present one, P. M. ROGERS; attendance good.

The village of Wisetown, or Beaver Creek, as it is sometimes called, was surveyed and laid out March 14, 1860, by R. K. DEWEY, for David W. WISE, the proprietor and founder. It is located on Section 26, about ten miles nearly south from Greenville, and five miles from Dudleyville. Although christened Wisetown for its founder, the post office is called Beaver Creek, after the name of the precinct, and first one name and then the other is applied to the village. It is quite a business little place, and is surrounded by a class of enterprising farmers. No saloon has ever been opened, which speaks well for its morals. There were a few houses here long before it was laid out as a town. A post office was early established, with John HENRY as Postmaster; Samuel AVIS was the first blacksmith, Peter BOSTOCK the first wagon-maker, and ___ DELKHAUS the first shoemaker. Dr. O. E. HORNEDY was the first physician of the village, and the first drug store was opened by Dr. Powell GORDON. The next physician of the place was Dr. D. A. BAILEY, then came Dr. J. A. WARREN, still here in practice. The place now has one store, kept by N. B. HARNES & Company; two blacksmith shops, A. J. SAPP and T. J. SAPP, each running a separate establishment; W. A. MCNEIL, undertaker, and also wagon-maker; drug store, kept by J. M. HARLAN, and an excellent schoolhouse. The place consists of some twenty-five houses, and has about one hundred and fifty inhabitants.

Union Church, in the village of Wisetown, is composed of the following denominations, viz.: Methodist, Cumberland Presbyterian and Missionary Baptist, members of which had belonged to no organized body until the formation of this church, except the Methodists, who worshiped at a schoolhouse. The church building was erected in the summer of 1878, and is

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32 x 48 feet. The ground upon which it stands was donated and deeded by Dr. J. A. WARREN, on the following conditions: That the Methodists have it the first and third Sundays of each month, commencing at 6 o'clock P. M., preceding, and ending at 6 o'clock P.M. on Friday following these Sundays; the Baptist to have the same privilege, including the second Sunday, and the Presbyterians the fourth. The four extra Sundays in each year are divided up on the same principle. This plan was adopted by the donor of the land that no discord might arise as to the ownership of the church. The building cost $1,200; the Trustees are N. B. HARNES, D. C. BALDRIDGE, J. M. MYERS, A. J. MILLER, E. B. WISE, J. A. WARREN and Jesse BURCH. A good Sunday school is kept up all the year round.

The precinct paid early attention to matters of education, and schools were established as soon as the country was sufficiently settled to justify the expense of paying teachers. The first schoolhouse of which we have any account was built on the present site of the town of Dudleyville, just in the rear of the old Methodist Church. It was a log building of the pioneer pattern, with puncheon floor, and the first school taught in it was by a man named BABCOCK. Another of the early schoolhouses was built on Section 26, a little south of the spring of the old camp-ground. The first school in it was taught by a man named P. G. VAWTER. A school was taught about three miles west of Wisetown, in 1835, by a man named TOBEY. There are now seven schoolhouses in the precinct, all of which are comfortable and commodious buildings, well-furnished and ventilated, and in which good schools are taught for the usual term each year by competent teachers.

The people of Beaver Creek Precinct are a religious people, if one may judge from its number of handsome churches, of which there are several in the precinct, outside of the villages of Dudleyville and Wisetown.

The first house in the precinct built exclusively for church purposes, and used also for a schoolhouse, was built at the old camp-ground on Section 26. The Baptists organized a church society here very early, and their church for some time had no floor except the ground; the pulpit was 6x8 feet in size, raised (the platform) about a foot above the ground, and the whole thing boarded up about to the preacher’s shoulders, so that while speaking, only his head and arms could be seen. The people attended this church for miles and miles away. Camp-meetings were held here, when the worshipers came and camped upon the grounds until the meetings closed. Among the first ministers at this church were Revs. ARNOT, Joseph TAYLOR, SEMONS, Jesse FORD, etc. The congregation worshiped here for many years, and then moved into a schoolhouse. Several denominations worshiped here also, but about 1866, religious services were discontinued, and the house was removed to Wisetown, where it is yet standing, being used for a dwelling. The members went elsewhere to worship, and joined themselves to other churches.

The German Methodist Church was built in 1865, and cost about $1,400. The society was first organized in 1850, and consisted of the following original members, viz.: George ULMER and wife, John HILDE and wife, Elizabeth DOLLANBACH, Charles DOLLANB ACH, Elizabeth TISHRUSE, Mary DOLLANBACH, John DANLER and wife, Mathias HUFFMAN, Elizabeth BARNRIDHER and Conrad PETERS. The first Trustees of the church were John THOMAN, Henry GARKE, Frederick SCHUBERT, George BARNRIDHER and Christian DOLLANBACH. The first minister was Rev. W. FIEGENBAUM, who organized the church; the membership is now about twenty-eight. A Sunday school was organized in 1870, of which George ULMER was the first Superintendent. It continues the year round, and is at present under the superintendence of Henry GARKE and Mr. THOMAN.

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Mount Carmel Methodist Episcopal Church stands on the southwest quarter of Section 20, and was organized in the early part of 1862, by J. J. BLIZZARD. The first regular minister was the Rev. Simeon WALKER. Among the first members were J. J. BLIZZARD, Samuel J. GILLELAND (class-leader), and others, amounting in all to about fifteen. The church edifice was erected in the fall of 1866, and was built of brick, costing about $960, and is a handsome little church building.

The Camp Ground Cumberland Presbyterian Church was quite early in the field - believed by some to have had a society here about 1826. Among the first members were the McADAMSes, GOODSONs, John HARRIS, William HARLAND, etc. Early ministers were William FINLEY, Joel KNIGHT, John BARBER and Joseph BARLOW. The society first worshiped in a log cabin, purchased of one of the first settlers named DURHAM. This house was used for several years, when the present house was built, probably about 1835, and is 24 x 30 feet in size. The organization is still kept up. The church property is deeded to the Board of County Commissioners for the benefit of the Cumberland Presbyterians. The present minister is Rev. Allison HUNTER; the Sabbath school is kept up all the year.

Transcribed by Norma Hass from the History of Bond and Montgomery Counties Illinois, published in 1882, Part I, pages 145-150

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