This is a complete online rendition of the manuscript, The History of McLean County, Illinois: portraits of early settlers and prominent men by William Le Baron and published in 1879, early in McLean county history. The manuscript depicts the history of the county as well as portraits and biographies of the early settlers and prominent men.
Collection: History of McLean County Illinois
In May, 1857, before the township had been officially organized, the people, feeling the necessity for schools, elected the first. Township School Board. G. IV. Hanks, J. C. Hanks and E. D. Westervelt were chosen Trustees. They elected F. P. Beach Treasurer, an office which he continued to hold until 1865. In 1860, the township was divided into five districts, and the trustees caused the north half of the school section to be divided into eighties and sold. The next year, however, they took back one eighty acre tract. In 1865, the Trustees elected J. C. Hanks Treasurer, and, in
Previous to the year 1856, there were few settlements in the township. There being no timber, it was not subject to early settlement. About this date, there came the general rush into the prairie country, but there being no station in this township. general settlement was delayed a few years. The first settlement seems to have been made on the ” Harris place,” so-called, on Section 10, just south of where Weston now stands. The land was entered by Mr. T. C. Buntin, of Terre Haute, Ind. The land was rented to Boyd and others, when, in 1S67, it was
Yates Township, known officially as Town 3.5, Range 5, was, until 1862 a part of Chenoa; at that date it was separately organized, and by resolution of its citizens, took the then popular name of ” Union,” at their first town meeting in 1863. This is easily accounted for, for at that time fully two-thirds of her fighting population were ” at the front ” doing their full duty in carrying the tattered flag ” on to Vicksburg and the “sacred soil” generally; while fully three-fourths of those who remained at home were praying and paying to help on the
White Oak Township was organized in the spring of 1858, the first election having been held April 6, 1858. The name of the town was a fortunate selection, as thereby this fraction of a township, the smallest in the county, has obtained a name that entitles it to the historical record of the whole grove. White Oak has always possessed a large share of influence in the councils of the county at large-much more than some of the newer and larger townships have been able to secure. The town has had no debt, or, if it ever bad any, it
It appears that settlements were not made along the Mackinaw at as early a day as they were made in the southern part of McLean County. We find Blooming, Randolph’s and Funk’s Groves had each several families as early as 1833, while it was five or six years before any are reported as being in White Oak. Doubtless this was owing to the fact that the settlement of this State was then proceeding from the south toward the north, and the early pioneers felt that the Mackinaw Timber was rather a frontier settlement. The pioneers of the other groves in
The township of White Oak is one of the most interesting in McLean County; it is the smallest in area-containing a little over seventeen sections of land-being a trifle less than half a Congressional township. Its population, in 1870, was 532, 9 less than shown by the census of 1860. At the present time, its population is probably about the same as in 1870; but as most of the other towns in this county have gained largely, it is doubtless true that White Oak now contains fewer inhabitants than any other town in McLean County. It has remained about stationary
Two and a half miles northeast of the village of Towanda„but within the limits of Money Creek Township, there was found, one morning in October, 1876, the body of a man, in the field of James Donohue, about forty rods from the railroad. The body was first discovered by Mrs. Strode. She thought it was a ” tramp” asleep, and so reported the matter at home. The boys went out and found the man dead, lying on his face. They reported, and immediately sent for Coroner Hendricks. Dr. Smith, of Bloomington, held the post-mortem examination, and found that one ball
In the early history of this settlement, Indian trails were the only roads. There was a very prominent trail passing through the settlement, which connected the Wabash with the Illinois. Indian paths, of course, followed the most direct and convenient course. The first road made by white men did the same. Many of these became regularly-established highways, and, as a result, we find the township crossed in all directions by roads that follow section or half-section lines but little. In townships that are composed of prairie-lands almost wholly, we naturally look for roads on every section line, but, where there
The first school was taught in a house erected for school purposes, about forty-five or forty-six years ago. This house was built of logs. For windows, it bad openings-where a log had been cut away. These were covered with greased paper. During the long winter-days, these semi-transparent, slits furnished all the light from without. Whenever the huge log-fire could be made to burn with sufficient brilliancy, it may be supposed that the youth suffered nothing from want of light. But, unfortunately, this was seldom the case. The chimney was built of mud and sticks, and it failed to “draw.” Mrs.