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Reminiscences - Silas J. Creel

In 1838 I settled on a piece of Congress land, which was said at the time not to be in market. It was located in what was called the "Lost Township." I built a house and cultivated a portion of the land, thinking I would soon be entitled to a pre-emption. Some years after Congress passed a new pre-emption act, in substance, that if any person, after its passage and approval, would build a house and move upon its land, shall be entitled to pre-emption. This act applied to the farm I was already living on, so that if any one, according to the provisions of this act, had erected a house upon the premises and moved into it, they could have taken it from me, a proceeding that I did not care to have done. In order that I should comply fully with the act, I must move on and build. I therefore moved off the place, and with my neighbors, many of whom lived a great distance, went five miles to Spring creek, cut logs, hauled them up and erected a house in one day--fourteen by sixteen feet--in which I moved with my family, in strict compliance with the very letter of the act. I then went to Quincy, filed my claim, and in five years proved up, got my deed, and hold it to this day.

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 588 - 589.

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