Early Settlers of Dry Grove, Illinois

The two groves on the south side of the township offered as many points for settlement to the pioneer. It is no wonder that these hardy, hunting men should select the places that they did for their early efforts at civilization. These woodlands are still attractive. They are in the upland. There are no marshes nor swamps in them.

The ground is rolling and soon dry after the rains. In early spring, the grass is seen peeping out from under the leaves, clothing the woodland with a carpet of green before the somber prairies put on their summer’s garb.

The first to enliven the township with a white man’s home, was Peter McCullough. He came from Flemingsburg. Ky., and settled in the grove in 1826. Peter McCulluugh was a noted character in early times. He was a man of remarkable shrewdness and decisiveness. His son William McCullough is well known in the general history of the county, both as an honored and respected citizen, and as a brave and efficient soldier and officer. There are several of the descendants of Peter McCullough still living in the county. He kept a kind of inn for some time, and many anecdotes might be told in regard to the primitive modes of entertainment.

The next man in the township was Stephen Webb. Mr. Webb came originally from North Carolina, but moved early to Kentucky and then to Tennessee. From Tennessee, he came to Illinois with William McCord and George and Jacob Hinshaw. Their trials and hardships make quite a long story. The journey was made under the most discouraging circumstances, and show hardihood, pluck and perseverance. After reaching this country, some stopped in one place and some in another, Mr. Webb finally locating his claim at Twin Grove, within the present limits of Dry Grove Township. This was in 1827.

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Mr. Webb has resided in the township ever since. He still lives at a place lie has occupied since pioneer days. He was born May 8, 1797, and is, consequently; getting along to an extreme old age. He has a number of children residing in the county.

In 1828, Henry Vansickles came to Dry Grove. He was from Pennsylvania, and came to the county and stopped at Blooming Grove in 1826. He remained a long time, but finally sold out and went to Iowa. All the family of children, except the wife of Charles J. McClure, have gone to various parts of the West.

After this, settlers began to come in quite rapidly. It is not now possible to trace theta in the order of their arrival.

In 1530, we find at the Grove, on the west, a number of families; Jacob Hinshaw, George and Reuben Carlock, Josiah Brown, Thomas Tanner on the south side; James Hefford, Henry Vansickles, William Gilson, John Dixon and Peter McCullough on the north side. Then, in 1831, there came to the same Grove Walford Wyatt, Asa Hutton and Abraham Hays.

In 1830, there were at Twin Grove the following families: Stephen Webb, Matthew Harbard (who lived on what was afterward known as the Daniel Munsell place), Landay Hurst and a Mr. Lucas. In the fall of the same year, George Beeler came to the Twin Grove, from Butler County, Ohio.

Ormond Robison came to Dry Grove in 1832. He remained but a short time, but moved to White Oak Grove in 1835. At this time, John Enlow came to the east side of Twin Grove. He stopped on the prairie and went to farming immediately. In 1837, the Munsells came from Indiana.

By this time, the settlement had increased to respectable numbers. They began to leave off hunting and sports, and settled down to the ordinary routine of rural pursuits. Many of the earliest pioneers began to feel restless under the restraints of more advancing civilization, and hied them away to the more congenial atmosphere of deer and turkey, the wolf and panther, the Indian and buffalo.


Le Baron, William., Jr. & Co. The History of McLean County, Illinois: portraits of early settlers and prominent men. Chicago. W. Le Baron, Jr., 1879.

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