Early Settlers of Yates, Illinois

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 sold to Harris, who, a few years later, traded it to W. H. Levers, for Chenoa property.

David Vance, who, through a long official connection with the school interest. and the general interest he has taken in the affairs of the township, church and every good work, is rightly regarded a most worthy and useful citizen, came onto Section 15, in 1866. He bad previously lived in Lawndale and Lexington. coming there from Ohio, in 1853. He proved a man of excellent judgment and enlarged public spirit. A friend of education, he was early elected School Treasurer, and has done much to conserve the financial affairs of the schools. He was one of the most efficient in building the first house of worship, the Methodist, and has exercised a careful oversight in its financial matters.

John Pool came here from the Mackinaw in 1S65, at which time only the farm of J. 31. Pettigrew (Section S), and the Harris farm (Section 10), were occupied in this northern part of the township. Squire Pool soon took an interest in the affairs of the new township, was early elected a Justice of the Peace; engaged a portion of his time in surveying, and, in 1S72, built a store in Weston, where he has continued in business, quietly attending to his large and prosperous mercantile affairs, and honestly serving the public in his official capacity.

John D. Banta settled on Section 26 about this time, on a farm upon which he remained several years. He took a lively interest in the affairs of his town, and was, while he remained a citizen of the township, often entrusted with its official interests.

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Hugh Henning took up a farm and still lives in Section 2’2. A year or two later, Joseph Burger purchased a farm in Section 25, and still remains on it. The brothers J. C. &. G. W. Hanks settled, in 1866, in the southeast part of the township, and were among the very first to take an interest in its affairs. As a singular coincidence, or more properly a pair of coincidences, they were both elected members of the first Board of School Trustees in 1S57, and both of the first Board of Commissioners of Highways in 1863. They early were recognized as among the best men in the neighborhood, a reputation which they have in no way marred during a life which extends through the entire history of the township.

The same year, J. E. Wikoff took up a farm on Section 32, and, the following year, the brothers Christian and Fritz Jacobs made homes near by each other in Sections 29 and 31. These men seemed well satisfied with their locality, and well they might be, for it is of the best farming land; and they have remained, making good homes and good citizens. About the same time, Christian Ziller opened up a fine farm in Section 11, a half-mile from where Weston now stands,’ and still lives there, enjoying the fruits of his industry, thrift and intelligent economy.

Anton Adam, an intelligent and thrifty German, was among the earliest on the ground, moving here from Ohio, in 1865, and making a farm on Section 2. Here he has lived ever since, minding his own business, taking care of ” Old Adam,” as he says ; has got a nice place, looking tidy, comfortable and frugal. He was one of the leading spirits in building the beautiful and sightless German Church at Weston.

Rev. W. P. Graves, long a member of this Conference, and at this time in charge of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Weston, bought what is now known as the Wilson farm, as early as 1864. The following year, lie had a portion broken, and built a house, but sold it in 1866. James Brady opened up a farm at about the latter date. E. D. Westervelt and F. P. Beach commenced farming here the same year.


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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