History of Dry Grove, Illinois

Dry Grove Township was so named from a grove in the southwestern part. This grove was long known as Dry Grove. Who first gave it the name, we do not know. All the groves in the county were named early. The reason for calling this Dry Grove may probably be found in the fact that it is on high ground, without. any stream of water running through it. The township bears the same name that was given it at the first organization in 1857. It lies in the northwestern part of the county, and includes one Congressional town. It is bounded on the north by White Oak, on the east by Normal, on the south by Dale, and on the west by Danvers Township. It is known as Town 24 north, Range 1 east of the Third Principal Meridian. As will be seen by this the Third Principal Meridian forms its western boundary, separating it from Danvers Township.

Besides the grove mentioned above, there is another in the southeastern part of the township, called Twin Grove. These skirt the southern border, forming almost an unbroken line of timber nearly across the southern side. On the north there is no native forest; but the many clusters of forest-trees planted by the industrious farmer, together with the orchards, give the country the appearance of a woodland. This is upland prairie. It lies in very good shape for farming and pasturing. A few flat places where the water might stand, have been drained at a small cost. Corn and oats are raised to a considerable extent ; hay and meadows are abundant; stock is raised largely. On the south side, along the timber, the products are the same with some wheat; but wheat is not extensively cultivated. The old settlers tell us of the wheat raised forty and fifty years ago, but the country has undergone a change since that time in regard to the adaptability to wheat-growing. This seems to be the history of all new settlements. The black rich soil that one sees in passing through this township, is enough to make an old farmer feel like stopping and going to work. There certainly can be no discount on the fertility of the soil. One branch of Sugar Creek takes its rise in this township. There are numerous branches of this stream from the center, east and northeast. They unite in one and leave on the south side near the center of Section 33. There is also a small stream flowing northwest from the northern part, and one on the west rises near the railroad, and flows in a zigzag course to near the northwest corner. The Indianapolis, Bloomington & Western Railroad enters the township one-fourth mile west of the southeast corner of Section 35. It passes diagonally north and west through the township, leaving from the middle of the west side of Section 19.

There is not now, nor has there ever been, so far as we know, any post office or village within the limits of Dry Grove Township. The nearest was the old post village of Wilkesborough, just across the line, in Danvers Township. There has been no call for any such thing, its proximity to Bloomington being of more advantage than the building of half a score of villages. The trains on the I.B. & W.R.R. do stop at Twin Grove, when they have a passenger to that point, and there is a switch there where farmers may load grain, but there is no station-house nor regular station.

The first road through the township was the State Road from Danville to Fort Clark (Peoria). This was located by Robert McClure, Daniel Francis and a Mr. Phil lips. It is followed very closely by the I., B. & W. Railroad. It crosses the South west corner of the township, and is one of the most important roads in it. It is commonly called the Peoria road, and is a much frequented thoroughfare. All the overland travel toward the West passes this way. It was on this road that Peter McCullough kept his “way-side inn.” Until the building of the I., B. & W. Railroad, in 1870, a regular line of coaches was run across the country from Bloomington west. This road is kept in good repair, and, as it passes obliquely west and north, it furnishes the shortest route to points off in that direction. Another important road crosses the northeastern corner of the township. It leads from Bloomington northwesterly. It passes obliquely through Sections 24, 14, 11, 10 and 3. The road is thrown up, being pretty well graded and drained, where draining is necessary. Beside these diagonal roads, most of the section lines and some of the half-section lines are regularly authorized highways. They are kept in good repair. There are many small streams in the township, but these are nearly all bridged. Where the Peoria road crosses Sugar Creek they have an iron bridge.

Before the adoption of the township system, this lay in Bloomington and Concord Precincts. The early officers were not distinct from the Officers of those precincts. On the adoption of this system, December 3, 1857, Town 24 north, Range 1 east, was called Dry Grove, and constituted a township for political purposes. At the first election, held April 6, 1858, the following officers were elected: Supervisor, Elias Yoder; Town Clerk, Alexander Forbes ; Assessor. Samuel C. Deal; Collector, Abraham Harrison; Overseer of the Poor, David Sill; Commissioners of Highways, Eleazer Mansell, Casper W. Harlin, John L. Shorthouse ; Constables, William D. Harbard, Michael S. Sill; Justices of the Peace, Mahlon S. Wilson, Samuel H. Brown; Overseers of Highways, Simeon Lantz, J. Phillips, Roswell Munsell.

  1. Early Settlers of Dry Grove, Illinois
  2. History of Schools in Dry Grove, Illinois
  3. History of Churches in Dry Grove, Illinois
  4. Early Industry of Dry Grove, Illinois
  5. Military History of Dry Grove, Illinois


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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