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1882 History - Chapter 21

[Page 169] Chapter XXI - Okaw Precinct

[Page 170]
dear.” Among the first settlers who located in Okaw Precinct was Josiah AUSTIN, who came in 1833, and located in the southern part, on Section 32. Two men, one named BATEMAN and the other named MARTIN, settled near him about the same time.

John BUTLER came in prior to the coming of Josiah AUSTIN, and located in the southern part of the precinct. Alexander MYATT came in an early day, and settled in the west half of Section 33, and about the same time a man, named FIX, settled in the southeast part of the precinct. Among the earliest settlers in this section was Mathew HENRY, who first settled in Greenville Precinct, about four miles west of the county seat, and after remaining there some time, located in this precinct, where, at present, a number of his descendants reside. On his way to Bond County, Mr. HENRY came through St. Louis, and it is said that, while there, he was offered five lots where the Southern Hotel now stands for a little pony mare, which he refused. Mr. HENRY also was the possessor of one of the first “cook stoves” in this county.

But little can be said of the early schools in Okaw Precinct, and for many years after its settlement but little attention was given to the subject of education, but of late years a great improvement has been made in this direction, and at present there are several schoolhouses in the precinct, in which school is taught by efficient instructors for the usual term each year.

At present there are two churches in this precinct, the Methodist Episcopal and the Evangelical Lutheran. The former was established early in the year 1842. For some time after the organization of this church, meetings were held at the residence of Alexander MYATT. Among the first members were Alexander MYATT and wife, Joshua SHARP and wife, Micajah BOWEN, Mr. ZIMMERMAN, Mrs. RAINEY, Mrs. GILLESPIE, Robert TUCKER, wife and mother, and the SKELTON family. About the first minister was the Rev. Joshua BARNES. Their present church building was erected about the year 1856, on the southwest quarter of Section 33. It is a frame building forty-four feet long and thirty-four feet wide, and was built at a cost of about $1,000. The first minister, who assumed the pastorate, after the building of this new church, was the Rev. J. W. LOW. The Trustees were A. L. COLE, William HOPPOCK, B. F. TAYLOR and A. J. COLE, and the first Class-Leader was A. L. COLE. Alexander MYATT was chosen the first Steward. The church is now in a highly, prosperous and flourishing condition, and the present Class-Leader is J. B. BLACKWELL, and J. B. MYATT and D. L. REYNOLDS are acting as Stewards. A good Sunday school is and has been maintained ever since the organization of this church.

The last named, the Evangelical Lutheran, or St. Peter’s Church, was built in the fall of 1874, on the southeast quarter of Section 33. Among the men who were instrumental in getting the church built were, Frederick MEYER, J. H. PAHMAN, Julius MEYER, Conrad KROMER, Henry SHUMAKER, Henry BBRAUCHMILLER, etc. Their first minister was Rev. KORNBEAUN. Prior to the erection of their church building, the society worshiped at the private residences of its members, and continued thus until their present church was built. It is a frame building, thirty feet long and twenty-four feet wide, and was built at a cost of about $600.

No regular meetings were held here until in 1880, but before this time, Rev. H. WOLFMAN, who had dedicated the church, preached at intervals. Since November, 1880, they have been having meetings every Sunday, and Rev. H. BAKER, the present minister, is employed at a yearly salary of $300, which, it may be said to their credit, is always promptly paid. At present the church is in a prosperous, thriving condition, and maintains a large and very interesting Sunday school. The Trustees at present are Julius T. BRAUCHMILLER and John TURENCK.

[Page 171 - Portrait of Solomon HARKEY]
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Transcribed by Norma Hass from the History of Bond and Montgomery Counties Illinois, published in 1882, Part I, pages 169-170.

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