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Chapter 23 - Colchester Township

This sub-division of McDonough occupies an interior portion of the county, being created from Tennessee and Chalmers townships, in 1880, as is more minutely shown further on in a review of the organization of the same. A large portion of timber is found within its borders. Crooked creek enters on the northeast quarter of section 5, and flowing in a southwesterly direction, leaves the township at the southwest corner of the northeast quarter of section 11. The Quincy branch of the Chicago Burlington and Quincy railroad also passes through the township, affording an outlet for the shipment of the soil's products to eastern and southern markets. The coal interests of this township is its principal feature. It is nearly, if not quite, co-extensive with its entire surface, having been found in all parts of the township. There are a large number of shafts and banks in active operation, affording employment to hundreds of men, some of whom work in the banks, while others are constantly engaged in hauling to home markets and the surrounding towns. The coal is regarded among the best in the state, and is used extensively in the manufacture of gas in several of the large western cities.

A man by the name of Smitherman came to what is now Colchester township, in the fall of 1829 or spring of 1830, locating on the northeast quarter of section 19, where he resided until the summer of 1831, when he removed to Morgan county.

David Troxwell settled on the southeast quarter of section 17, in the early part of 1829. He remained until the fall of 1830, when he removed to Springfield.

John D. Barber, a native of Kentucky, came to what is now Colchester township, in August, 1830, and settled upon the northwest quarter of section 27. Here he resided for two years, when he removed to a farm on section 19, where he lived until 1874, when death overtook him. His family are still residents of the county, one son, Robert, living in Lamoine township.

John D. Barber, (deceased), was born in South Carolina, August 11, 1797, and was a son of Robert and Priscilla (Lee) Barber. When he was nine years old, his parents moved to Lincoln county, North Carolina, where they remained nine years, then removed to Pulaski county, Kentucky. While they were living there, John D., returned to North Carolina, where he was married to Mary Davis, daughter of John B. and Esther (Mattocks) Davis, and a native of North Carolina. They were married in December, 1818. In 1830 they came to McDonough county and located on section 27, Chalmers township, where he at once built a house, probably the first in the township, and proceeded to improve a farm. Their first winter, 1830, was the one of the great snows, during which they endured fully their share of hardships and privations. Like many others they had to subsist through the winter upon dry hominy. In 1832 they moved to section 19, Colchester township. Mr. Barber died March 16, 1874, and was laid to rest in the Barber cemetery. Mrs. Barber died November 26, 1861. They were the parents of 10 children--Esther M., Robert, Edward D., Priscilla Lee, Rachel Catharine, Mary Carr, Charles, Nancy Jane, Sarah Elizabeth and John James. Esther M., now resides on the place where her father located in 1832, and the house which he then built, is still standing on the premises, though unused; Robert, is married to Mary Stephens, and living in this county; Edward D., is married to Elizabeth Rippetoe and also living in this county; Rachel C., is the wife of James O. Taylor, of Kansas; Mary Carr, is married to Caleb H. Rippetoe; Charles was born, and died, in this county; Nancy Jane married William A. Carson, and lives at Chester; Sarah Elizabeth is the wife of E. H. Hamilton; John James is married to Elizabeth Barrett, and resides in this county. John D. Barber hauled the clapboards to cover the first house built in Macomb, and hewed some of the logs and worked on the building of the first court house in McDonough county.

Nathaniel Barber, (deceased), was born in Kentucky, in 1825, and was a brother of John D. Barber. His parents came to McDonough county, in 1830, and he was here reared, and married to Melissa Bain, a native of Iowa, and daughter of John Bain. They were the parents of two children--Mary Jane, who was married to Henry Knott, and died in August, 1881; and Robert A. Nathaniel Barber died in this county, in 1845, and is buried in the King cemetery. His widow died in 1861, on Christmas day. She is buried near Wayland, Iowa. Robert A. Barber was born September 22, 1845, and when eight years of age, removed with his mother to Henry county, Iowa. He remained in that county till July, 1867, when he returned to McDonough county. He was married, November 19, 1868, to Zirelda Barber. By this union there are five children--Mary Emma, Florence Eva, John D., William and Addie Lee. Mr. Barber is engaged in general farming.

In the spring of 1831 Thomas Palmer settled on section 19, where he erected a cabin and made a few improvements. He remained here about two years, and then returned to Morgan county.

In the fall of 1831 a man by the name of Todd settled on the place vacated by David Troxwel, on section 17, but only remained about a year.

Joshua Hunt and family came to McDonough county, November 16, 1831, settling on the northeast quarter of section 14, now Colchester township. Samuel A. Hunt came with his parents at the time above mentioned. He was afterward elected to the office of county surveyor and treasurer, during his residence in this county. He resides in Harper county, Kansas, at present. Isaac B., a brother of Samuel, came at the same time, and is now a resident of the town of Colchester.

Lewis Mourning and family came in July, 1833, settling near the town of Colchester, where they remained about one year. Mr. Mourning removed to a small farm about one mile east of the place. He stayed here about a year, making a few improvements, after which he took up his residence on section 26, and five years later removed to the place now occupied by his son, William H., on the southwest quarter of section 26, Tennessee township. Mr. Mourning afterward removed to Kansas, where he died January 1, 1873. His wife still resides there, at an advanced age.

William Harvey Mourning is a native of Adair county, Kentucky, and was born on the 4th of October, 1831. He is the son of Lewis and Ann (Jones) Mourning, the former of whom went to Kansas a number of years after coming to McDonough county, and there remained until his death, which occurred on the 1st of January, 1873. In June, 1833, William Mourning came with his parents to McDonough county, Illinois, and located near Colchester, where his father operated the old Bacon mill, which stood about two miles northeast of Colchester. Here he remained about two years, when he removed to a small farm about one mile east of Colchester. A year later he moved on section 26, Tennessee township, and some years afterward located on the place now owned by his son William. William H. was married in this county, on the 11th of May, 1856, to Nancy Ann Breden, a native of Illinois, and a daughter of William and Nancy A. (Driscoll) Breden. They have had 11 children--Mary R., wife of Lewis Mullison, living now in Dodge county, Nebraska; Emma B., married Henry Walker, who is now a resident of Colchester township; Maggie E., married Marion Booth, of Colchester; Francis M., Harvey, Eugene, Jennie, Annie, Martin, Minnie and Joseph. Mr. Mourning has 285 acres of land, nearly all under cultivation, and raises cattle, horses and hogs. He is engaged, also, in manufacturing brick, having made 200,000 brick in 1883. He has a new and elegant residence, which was erected in the fall of 1884, and beautiful grounds around his house. This building is 38x36 feet in size, with large bay windows, and every convenience that can be wished for, or heart desire.

Robert Cannon came to McDonough county in 1833, and located on section 6, in what is now Colchester township. He was born in Pennsylvania, and afterwards removed to Kentucky. He married Elizabeth Cheatham, a native of Virginia. He was a millwright, carpenter, and cabinet-maker, and followed his trade in Kentucky and for some time after coming to this county. On his arrival in the county, he purchased 40 acres of land, on which he built a log house. In this he resided with his family until his death occurred, in April, 1854. Mr. and Mrs. Cannon were the parents of three children, of whom James Anderson Cannon, of Macomb township, was one.

James L. Horrell located in what is now Colchester township, in the spring of 1835. In the same fall, he removed to Bethel township, where he died.

In 1885, Valentine B. Clayton came, in company with his parents. They entered land on section 25, where the family of Valentine have since resided. He was born in Washington county, Virginia, December 18, 1818, and when nine years of age, removed with his parents to Washington county, Tennessee, where he remained until coming to McDonough county. He was married in July, 1846, to Mahala D. Monk, who came to this county in 1834. They were the parents of five children--James F., Susan E., Charles W., William H., and Mary E. Mr. Clayton died March 26, 1884, and is buried at the Bean cemetery, near Colchester. Mr. Clayton's death occurred during the year 1884. His wife still resides on the old homestead.

William W. Clayton came to McDonough county, with his parents, in October, 1835, who settled in Colchester township, erecting a cabin on the northeast quarter of section 25. He afterwards removed to his parents' location on section 24. In Washington county, Virginia, on the 22d of February, 1817, William W. Clayton was born. When about 10 years of age, he removed from his native state to Washington county, Tennessee, with his parents, and there remained until the year 1835, when he came to McDonough county, Illinois, when his father built a house in Colchester township, and there died in 1852, at the age of 60 years. William W. was married in December, 1842, to Louisa Jane Monk, a daughter of Samuel Monk, an old settler of Schuyler county. Mr. and Mrs. Clayton have had seven children, four of whom are now living--Martha; William H., living now in Kansas; James H.; Alonzo; Francis M., who enlisted in company A, Yates sharpshooters, afterwards known as the 64th Illinois infantry, and was with his company until the siege of Atlanta, when he was taken sick, and was sent to Marietta, thence home on thirty days' leave. After his discharge, he came home, but in very poor health, and never recovered, but lingered along until September 9, 1878, when he died. Three other children are dead. Valentine W., and Mary Ellen both died when they were infants. Mr. Clayton participated in the Mormon war, and was at Carthage when Smith surrendered. Mr. Clayton has at the present time a fine farm of 120 acres, which is all under cultivation, with the exception of 20 acres of timber land, in sections 24 and 25, Colchester township.

Henry Canote came to Colchester township, in the spring of 1836, locating on section 24, where he lived until his death. Mr. Canote was born in Madison county, Kentucky, in the year 1800, being a son of Jacob Canote. He grew to manhood in that state, learning the trades of shoemaking and harness-making. He afterward held the office of constable of Greencastle, in Putnam county, Indiana, having removed there in 1830, from which place he came to this county. Mr. Canote was married in his native county, to Peachey Mumpine, also a native of Kentucky. They were the parents of four children--Martin, Calvin, Susanna, and Henry. Martin still resides near the old homestead, being married November 15, 1860, to Nancy J. Lower, born in McDonough county, in 1837.

Henry Canote, Jr., came with his parents to this township, in 1836. He was born in Putnam county, Indiana, May 22, 1833, and was married, in 1857, to Esther A. Monk, a native of this county, who died December 14, 1862. Mr. Canote was again married in April, 1865, to Jane Buford. They reside on the old homestead, on section 24.

Jonathan Hoyt entered land on section 13 and 14, erecting a cabin on the latter section in 1836, on which he afterward settled. He was born in Grafton county, New Hampshire, September 8, 1808, and was a son of Jonathan and Jemima (Ford) Hoyt, who were both natives of New Hampshire. When 12 years of age the family removed to Meigs county, Ohio, where he grew to manhood. He was married December 19, 1841, to Elizabeth Rowley, a native of New York, a daughter of Enos and Susan (Montgomery) Rowley.


Among the others worthy of notice in a complete history of Colchester township are the following:

Jacob Durflinger, deceased, was a native of Pickaway county, Ohio, and was born on the 2d day of April, 1803. He was there reared, and was married there on the 24th of August, 1826, to Mary, a daughter of Benjamin McAllister. They have had nine children: Frederick, Benjamin M., John, Julian, Elizabeth L, Rebecca E., Mary C., all dead; Joseph T., living in Colchester township, and George F., deceased. Jacob Durflinger removed with his family to McDonough county, in 1850, and located on section 36, now Colchester township. On the 1st day of March, 1855, he died, and his wife survived him until September the 9th, 1869.

Joseph T. Durflinger, the son of Jacob Durflinger, was born in Pickaway county, Ohio, on the 26th of June, 1846. He was quite a boy when the family removed to McDonough county, and here he received his schooling. He was married on the 27th of March, 1873, to Susan A. Clayton. a daughter of Valentine and Mahala (Monk) Clayton. Mr. Durflinger owns 180 acres of good land in Colchester township, most of which is under cultivation. He also raises a large stock of cattle and hogs, having several different breeds of each. Mr. Durflinger erected his present residence in 1879, and is now one of the most successful and prosperous farmers in this township.

W. A. Hutchinson was born in Windsor county, Vermont, on the 25th of April, 1817, and is the son of Ebenezer and Mary Hutchinson. He came to McDonough county, in 1860, and one year later settled on his present location on section 35, Colchester township, where he now owns 110 acres of land, and raised some fine crops. Mr. Hutchinson was married in Vermont, on the 23d of January, 1843, to Mary M. Hallett, a native of that state. Mr. Hutchinson is an intelligent and enterprising man, and is highly respected by his many friends of McDonough county.

Benjamin Windsor, who is one of the substantial men of this township, was born in Staffordshire, England, on the 6th day of April, 1818. He was reared in his native county, and was there married on the 24th of June, 1846, to Ellen Blakemore, a native of that country, and a daughter of John and Ann Blakemore. Mr. Windsor came to the United States in 1850, and located in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, where he followed mining until coming to this county, in 1857. He then located in Colchester, and began mining, and so continued until the year 1875, when he decided to give up his former occupation and give his attention to farming and stock raising. In 1862 he bought 15 acres of land, and the year following he purchased 20 acres, beside that he now has 37 acres more, which he bought of A. V. Neece. He has a large stock of cattle and hogs; and owing to his good management and intelligence, he has made as finely a cultivated farm as can be found in the township. Mr. and Mrs. Windsor are the parents of five children living--Sarah Ann, living in Creston, Iowa; Thomas, Jane, Ella Maria and James. One son was killed by a train in Missouri.

Robert Myers, son of Eli and Ann (Porter) Myers, was born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, on the 2d of March, 1820. When three years of age, he moved with his parents to Pickaway county, Ohio, where his parents died, and Robert then went to live with an uncle, William Porter. He remained with William Porter until July, 1846, when he was married to Mary Ann Hollowell, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Johnson) Hollowell. In the fall of 1849, Mr. and Mrs. Myers came to Adams county, Illinois, where they remained until the spring of 1850, when they removed to their present location on section 25, Tennessee township, now the township of Colchester. Mr. Myers has 90 acres of land, about half of which is improved, and besides practicing farming, he pays attention to the raising of stock of various kinds. Mr. and Mrs. Myers are the parents of three children, whose names are--Ann Elizabeth, married Reuben Strater, living at Fandon; Mary Jane, married Cassius M. Strater, living in Hancock county; William Kenton, married Phrony Hooten, a resident of Colchester township.

Hieronymus Ott came to McDonough county, in 1858, since which he has been a resident here. He is a native of Guggenberg, Bavaria, in the German empire, and was horn February 16, 1827, his parents being Joseph N. and Mary (Schneider) Ott. His father was a farmer, and his early life was spent on a farm. When he reached the age of 18 years, he left home and went to Miltenberg, also in Bavaria, where he began learning the cooper's trade. He mastered that trade in two years, after which he worked as a journeyman one year. At the age of 21 he drew a number which called for his service in the army, upon which he immediately entered, and served six years in the Bavarian army and participated in what is there known as the "Revolutionary war," where the royal army met, among the revolutionists, Generals Franz Sigel, Hecker and others, who afterwards became renowned in the service of the United States. At the close of his term of service, Mr. Ott went back to his home and worked some at his trade, also assisted his father upon the farm. In 1856, he bade farewell to his native land and took passage from Havre to New York, determined to try his fortune in the New World. He stopped first in Cleveland, Ohio, where he had a brother living, and there followed his trade a short time, then he and his brother, John S. Ott, came to Illinois, and located at Galesburg, where Hieronymus went to work for the C. B. & Q. railroad company. About a year later he came to McDonough county, and first located in Colchester, where he was employed by the Quincy Coal Company for about 12 years, then bought a, house in Colchester in which he lived two years. He then bought his present farm which contains 124 acres of land, and is located in Chalmers township. Mr. Ott was married December 18, 1864, to Mary Wingler, a native of Baden, and daughter of Joseph and Mary (Gros) Wingler. Her parents are residents of Bushnell, and came to this county the same year that Mr. Ott did. Mr. Ott is engaged in stock raising. He is the school director of his district.

William Kipling, a resident of Tennessee township, was born in Dunham, England, November 6, 1819. His parents, John and Elizabeth (Thompson) Kipling were also natives of England. William Kipling came to America in 1852, and settled then in Tennessee township, McDonough county. Five years later, he returned to his native country, and was married, March 25, 1857, to Mary Hassop, of Dunham, England. He then came back to Tennessee township, and has remained here since that time. Mrs. Kipling died, April 14, 1874, aged 50 years, six months and nine days. She left four children--William, born in 1858; John, born in 1861; Thomas, born in 1863; Alfred, born January 6, 1866. Two children, Albert and Elizabeth, are deceased. Mr. Kipling was married the second time, October 25, 1875, to Catharine McSweeney, a native of Ireland. He is an enterprising business man, carrying on a grocery store, at Ragtown, and mining coal at four banks. The latter are run by his sons. He owns 32 acres of land. Mr. Kipling has crossed the ocean seven times, in his visits to relatives and friends in the old country. He is a staunch supporter of the republican party.

Thomas Kipling, son of John and Elizabeth (Thompson) Kipling, was born in Dunham, England, March 2, 1826. He emigrated to this country in 1853 and stopped for a time in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and in Virginia. He then came to McDonough county, Illinois, and settled permanently in Tennessee township. He was married December 22, 1868, to Mary J. Hassop, and by this union has had nine children, eight of whom are living--William, Francis, Mary L., Septimus, Thomas N., Joseph, John E., and Abraham. One son, Roscoe, is deceased. Mr. Kipling has followed mining since coming here, and owns two banks, in working condition. He also owns 20 acres of land, which his sons cultivate. He enlisted in the service of his adopted country, May 24, 1861, and served one year and 11 months. He is a member of the G. A. R. post at Colchester, and politically a republican.

Captain George W. Reid is a native of the city of New York, born November 25, 1837. He is a son of John Reid, a native of Scotland. He was brought up in his native city, and educated in the public schools. In 1856, he went to New Jersey, where, for a few months, he followed carpentering, and in the fall of the same year, went to Indianapolis, Indiana, remaining there until June, 1857. At that date he came to McDonough county and located at Macomb, where he followed his trade until the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion. He then enlisted in 1861, in company D, of the 64th Illinois infantry and was commissioned as second lieutenant. In June 1862, he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant, and in December of the same year, was appointed captain of his company. He served in the 16th corps of the army of the Tennessee, participating in the battles of New Madrid, Island Number 10, siege of Corinth, Iuka, second battle of Corinth, and skirmishes and battles from Chattanooga to Atlanta and to Gainsville Alabama. During the battle fought at Atlanta, July 22, 1864, he captured a rebel flag, which he brought home with him, on his return from the army. He has since sent it to Springfield, Illinois. He was mustered out of the service in November 1864, and returned to this county and located where he now lives, on section 11, Chalmers township. He owns a farm of 50 acres. Captain Reid has been twice, coroner of McDonough county. He is a member of the G. A. R., and commander of Macomb Post, No. 103. He is a member of the Presbyterian church. March 29, 1865, he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Hunter, of Macomb, a daughter of William Hunter. Captain Reid was a brave and fearless soldier, never shrinking from duty, and always at his post. He is justly deserving of the honor which he then won.


A cemetery is located on section 19, on the Barber place. It contains about one acre and is fenced. It has never been laid out as a public burying ground, but is used generally by the public. The first burial was Charles, a three-year-old son of John Barber.


Colchester township was constituted in the spring of 1880; from Tennessee and Chalmers townships, taking from the former all of sections 1, 12, 13, 24, 25, 36, and the east half of sections 2, 11, 14, 23, 26 and 35; from the latter all of sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 17, 18, 19, 30, 31, and the west half of sections 20, 29 and 32. This makes the township six miles north and south, the north half three and a half miles east and west, and the south half three miles east and west. The present officers of the township are as follows: Supervisor, D. W. Campbell; clerk, Stroder Stookey; assessor, W. B. Cowan; collector, J. Surtees; highway commissioners, Otto Yaap and S. Copeland; justices of the peace, Thomas Richards and B. H. Clapbaugh; constables, George Slocum and John Stewart.


In 1874 Joseph Oakman opened a stone quarry on section 23. The stone is a sort of sand stone, and is in layers of from three to ten inches in thickness. The narrow layers are suitable for pavement slabs, while the thicker ones are desirable for building purposes and for the foundation of buildings. The quarrying is carried on during spring and fall seasons, when farm work is slack, Mr. Oakman and his boys doing the work. The stone has a market for a distance of five or six miles. The stone is soft enough to handle easily, but hardens perceptibly when exposed to the weather.

Joseph Oakman came to McDonough county, Illinois, in 1863, and located in the northern part of the county. In 1865 he removed to his present location on section 23, now Colchester township. He pays attention to both the raising of stock and to farming, having about 80 acres of as good land as there can be found in this township. Joseph was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the 30th of January, 1815, and is the son of Ebenezer and Ann (Bruce) Oakman. His father was a native of Boston, and his mother of Philadelphia. In 1820 the family removed to Bedford county, where our subject was reared to manhood, and there received his education. In April, 1854, Joseph left Pennsylvania and came to Hancock county, Illinois, and remaining there until 1863, when he came to McDonough county. He was married in Perry county, Pennsylvania, July 30, 1848, to Mary Eyre, a native of Dauphin county, that state. They have had 10 children, four of whom are dead--Susannah Frances, wife of William Blanchard, of this township; Jacob E., married Lizzie Ullrich, now living in McDonough county; Hannah C., married Joseph Bach, now living in Macomb; Joseph H., living in Colchester; Daniel F.; John A., died January 20, 1860, aged eight years; William, died October 11, 1865, aged four years; Sarah A., died in infancy, and Eliza J. died in 1873, at the age of five years. Mr. Oakman has held the office of school director.

Source: The History of McDonough County, together with sketches of the towns, villages and townships, educational, civil, military and political history; portraits of prominent individuals, and biographies of the representative citizens, 1885, pages 589-598. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen

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