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Reminiscences - J. W. Brattle

In the summer of 1832, Thomas Adkisson, and John Gibson, from Morgan county, called on me to go out to Walnut Grove, to survey a new settlement which they designed to locate. We went out and surveyed the whole region of country, spending five days and camping out during the whole time. The men were greatly discouraged at the prospect, thinking there was not enough timber in that township for the purposes of settlers, and therefore no considerable number would ever settle there; the consequences of which would be that their children would grow up without the influences of schools and meeting. They returned to Morgan county, but afterwards came back and settled in Industry township, this county, where there was more timber, and where they lived and died.

While surveying this tract of country, we found a house which had the appearance of being lately built, but which was then unoccupied. Isaac Bartlett afterwards told me he built the house in the fall of 1830, with the intention of moving in it; but having raised a crop on Spring Creek, which he desired to feed out before moving, he placed his aged parents in the new house, in order that he might hold his claim. This was in the winter of 1830-31, a winter that no old settler can ever forget, the like of which has never been experienced since. Others may .probably have told you of some of the horrors of that long winter. It is hard to describe. The elder Bartlett and his wife were in the cabin when the snow fell. They had with them a cow which provided the milk for their use. When the snow ceased falling, Isaac Bartlett took his sled, and hitching a yoke or two of oxen to it, started for the residence of his parents to bring them away, but the snow was so deep he could make no headway, and night coming on, he had to await another day, when he again made the attempt to reach them. It was live days before he finally got through. He found his parents without food of any kind, the cow dead, having died from hunger and cold, and his father in the act of dressing it for the purpose of eating. Having brought provisions with him, their immediate wants were supplied, and the next day all returned to Spring Creek. Such were some of the experiences of the early settlers in this county.

Respectfully, J. W. BRATTLE.

Source: History of McDonough County, Illinois, It's Cities, Towns, and Villages with Early Reminiscences, Personal Incidents and Anecdotes, and a Complete Business Directory of the County, by S. J. Clarke, published in 1878, pages 591-592. Extracted 30 Jul 2016 by Norma Hass

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