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11885 HISTORY
Chapter 38 - Macomb Township

The township of Macomb embraces all of congressional township 6 north, range 2 west, and is one of the best townships for agricultural purposes in McDonough county. It is bounded on the north by Walnut Grove township, on the east by Mound, on the south by Scotland, and on the west by Emmet.

Crooked creek passes through the entire township, coming in at section 13, and passing out at section 30. Drowning Fork, of this stream, derived its name from the circumstances of a man being drowned there about the year 1827. Three soldiers were returning from the northern part of this state, or Wisconsin, where they had been fighting Indians, going south. When they arrived at this branch of Crooked creek they found it swollen by recent rains. In attempting to cross, two of them were drowned. Their companion buried them beside the stream, and made his way to the block house, in Industry township, where he narrated the circumstances to the few settlers surrounding it, who returned with him to the creek and found it as he described. They gave it the name which it has since borne--Drowning Fork. These streams, with other smaller tributaries, afford excellent drainage facilities, while furnishing abundant supplies of water for agricultural and stock purposes. The only timbered land in the township lies along the bank of Crooked creek, though nearly every one of the many substantial farmhouses has its neat artificial grove surrounding. The land, outside of the wooded district, is diversified, being composed in part of level prairie, and again of rolling surface, the whole, with the numberous handsome houses and painted barns thickly studding the county, presenting a picturesque and pleasing landscape to the eye of the observer.

The major part of the city of Macomb lies within the borders of this township, while Bardolph is situated wholly within its limits. The Quincy branch of the Chicago, Burlington& Quincy railroad passes through the township, thus affording, with the easy accessibility of the two towns mentioned, the best of market facilities for the products of its citizens.

The soil is a dark, unctuous loam in general, but in some sections it is composed of light clay and vegetable mold. The very best of potters and fire-clay is to be found in some portions, affording an inexhaustible supply of these useful materials, as well as being a source of revenue to the fortunate owners of the lands on which these clay banks are situated.

EARLY SETTLEMENT

The first settlement in this township of which there is any record was made by James Fulton, in the year 1830. He was born in Fleming county, Kentucky, in 1804, and came to this county from that state. He remained in this locality for many years, and then removed to Macomb, where he died a few years ago.

Silas Hamilton came to McDonough county in 1831, with his parents, who settled on section 4, Macomb township. They came from Adair county, Kentucky. Levi, his father, afterward removed to Iowa, where he died in 1882. He was a staunch, generous Kentuckian and a member of the Presbyterian church, but not a very progressive citizen.

Alexander Harris located in Macomb township in 1831, about the center of section 22. He resided there until his death. The homestead is still occupied by this family.

In 1831, George Miller located on the south half of section 24, building his first house on the southwest quarter of that section. He came from Virginia, but was a native of Kentucky. He improved the farm and afterward erected the house now owned and occupied by Joseph Work. He had a wife, two sons and a daughter, and in 1843, joined the Mormons going to Nauvoo. He afterward went to Indian territory, where he build a school house for the Indians, at Cherokee, and later removed to Texas.

In 1831 or 1832, Abner Walker came from Kentucky and located on the southeast quarter of section 16. He afterward removed to the city of Macomb, where he subsequently died.

James Harris settled on the northeast quarter of section 22, where David Holler now lives, in 1832 or 1833. He improved the place and resided there until his death. His wife also died there and both were buried on the place upon which they settled at that early day. Mr. Harris was a member of the Presbyterian church and materially assisted William H. Jackson in organizing the first Sunday school in the township, in 1837, at the house of George Miller.

James Creel, now a resident of Blandinsville, built a small cabin on the site of the present village of Bardolph about the year 1833, but did not own it. The cabin was afterward used for a school house.

Robert Grant, J. P. Updegraff and Ephraim Palmer were settlers previous to 1834.

Thomas A. Brooking came to Macomb township in the fall of 1834, where he spent the winter, and in the spring of 1835, built a double cabin on section 30, where the cemetery now is. He afterward removed to section 7, where he accumulated a large amount of land, some 600 acres in all. In 1856, he removed to the city of Macomb, where he afterward died.

John H. Snapp came to Macomb in 1834, settling about two miles north of Bardolph. He lived here until 1854, when he removed to Missouri, where he died in 1872. He was born in East Tennessee, in 1809, where he resided until he came to this county. A son of Mr. Snapp, Alexander, still resides in the county, living in Walnut Grove township.

David M. Crabb located on section 17, Macomb township, in 1836, where he still resides.

John M. Crabb, was born in Westmoreland county, Virginia, September 1, 1792, and was the son of Daniel and Frances (Middleton) Crabb, who were both natives of England, but who came to this country prior to the Revolutionary war. Mrs. Crabb was a sister of Arthur Middleton, one of the signers of the immortal Declaration of Independence, an instrument which brought freedom to 3,000,000 of people then living. John M. was left an orphan at a very early age, his mother dying when he was but two years old, and his father some four years after. On the death of his father, he was taken by an uncle, Samuel Crabb, with whom he lived until the breaking out of the war of 1812. This uncle endeavored to do his whole duty by his lonely nephew, and doubtless succeeded as well as any but a parent could succeed. In that early day the school facilities of the country were very limited, and unless possessed of great wealth, few could obtain an education such is now required of the youth of our land, Mr. Crabb, therefore, was only instructed in those branches taught in the common schools of his native state, but the will power and determination to do of the man availed him much instead. When the war with Great Britian was proclaimed in 1812, Mr. Crabb, then in his 20th year, was among the first to enlist. He served his country faithfully as a private soldier, for two years, proving that he came from good old revolutionary stock. For that service he received $8 per month, and a land warrant at the close of the war. John M. Crabb and Ann Fleming were united in marriage, and they were the parents of 10 children--Frances Ann, now living on the old homestead; Elizabeth, deceased, wife of Samuel McCray; Mary M., wife of Robert Kepple, of Mound township; Parmelia L., deceased wife of R. N. Chatterton; Daniel M., a resident of Macomb township; Hannah L., deceased wife of William Jackson, of Mound township; John A., living in Macomb; William E., a resident of Page county, Iowa; Robert F., living in Macomb, and Samuel M., deceased. In April, 1851, Mr. John M. Crabb, was called on to pay the last debt of nature, and cross the dark and sullen river of death, leaving a large circle of mourning friends, and a sorrowing family circle. In 1828, Mr. Crabb, with his family, then consisting of a wife and six children, moved from Virginia to Montgomery county, Ohio, thinking to better his fortunes in a newer country. Here they only remained one year, when a change was made to Clinton county, in the same state, where they continued to reside until the fall of 1836, when another change was made, this time to the regions of McDonough county, where they arrived on the 14th of November, 1836. For a few weeks they lived in the village of Macomb, when, leasing the east half of section 16, Macomb township, the family moved on this as soon as a house could be provided. The following spring, buying 80 acres of the same section, Mr. Crabb, with his boys, began to till the soil, which, for 49 years, has continued to yield bountiful harvests. No other business did he ever follow than that of tiller of the soil, an occupation suited to his nature. Although he did not amass wealth, as did many, he added to his possessions from time to time, until he had acquired sufficient means to render him comfortable while life should last. Up to his 54th year he continued to labor hard, after which he surrendered the laborious part of the work to his sons, who had grown up around him, and who physically were able to endure the burdens and hardships of a farmer's life. When he first settled on his place, Abner Walker was the only neighbor he had, he living then about one miles east. The fever and ague was very common in the country at that time, and the family all enjoyed a touch of it. We have remarked that Abner Walker was the only neighbor. We might qualify it by saying human neighbor, for all around him were prairie wolves in great numbers, so bold they would come to his very doors, and from the yard kill the fowls which he had provided. The annual prairie fires were then very destructive, and great care had to be exercised to prevent their crops, and even buildings, from being destroyed. Mr. Crabb, long before the grass would begin to dry would have his entire fields plowed around to prevent the spread of the fire when it should come. In this way he saved himself from loss by prairie fires. He was possessed of great firmness of character, and with his children his word was law; when he commanded, obey they must. He was very fond of amusements, especially out door kind, yet never carried his love of the ridiculous to excess. He believed there was a time and place for everything, and nothing approaching levity should be permitted where sobriety should be the rule. For many years he was a consistent member of the M. E. church, with which body his wife was likewise connected, having united while a citizen of Montgomery county, Ohio. The last congregation with which he was connected, was the one in Bardolph, this county. Mr. Crabb departed this life on the 10th day of November, 1865, being at the time 73 years, 2 months and 9 days old. He died at the old homestead, surrounded by his children, all of whom had reached man and woman's estate; all of whom were married, save one.

Daniel M. Crabb, the eldest son of John M. and Ann Crabb, was born in Frederick county, Virginia, on the 14th day of November, 1823, and when five years old, removed with his parents to Ohio, from which place they came to McDonough county, where they arrived on the 13th birth day of the subject of our present sketch. From that time to the present, he has been a citizen of this county, living in the well known Crabb settlement, in Macomb township. His entire life has been that a farmer, having never engaged in any other occupation. Previous to his arrival in Macomb, he attended the common schools of Ohio, and after his arrival in this country, went for a short time to the old Prairie school, near the present residence of Patrick Laughlin, Esq., three miles north of Macomb, and about the dame distance from his father's residence. On the 6th day of March, 1850, Mr. Crabb was married to Rebecca E. Hampton, with whom he lived ten years, she dying in 1860. By this union there were three children--Anna E., wife of Abner Niely, living in Blue Earth county, Minnesota; Laura, wife of William H. King, of Macomb township, and James M., a resident of the same township. After his first marriage, Daniel made a settlement, where he now lives on section 17, where he owns 154 acres. He also owns 25 acres on section 23. Mr. Crabb was again married on the 6th day of March, 1862, to Mary E. Bardo, with whom he yet happily lives. By this union there was one child--Robert Emmet, living at home. About the year 1841, Mr. Crabb made a profession of religion, and united with the M. E. church. In 1871, he changed his church relations, by uniting with the Evangelical Lutheran church, at present located in the city of Macomb, his wife also uniting with that congregation, though she had for several years been a devoted member of that zealous body of christian people. Mr. Crabb now occupies the position of trustee in the church.

A man by the name of Lovell settled on the northeast quarter of section 26, in 1836, where he erected a brick house, the first in the township. He improved the farm, and lived there until 1841 or '42, when he removed to Bernadotte, Fulton county, where he afterward died.

Michael Vincent settled on the northwest quarter of section 25, in 1837.

O. M. Hoagland, a native of Kentucky, came with his family from Rushville, Schuyler county, in 1840, locating on sectin 24. He died at Bardolph, August 18, 1875.

MENTION OF OTHER RESIDENTS

In order that those who have labored to advance the interests of the township, may be represented, the following mention of the more prominent citizens is given:

Aaron R. McKee is a son of William R. McKee, who was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, April 14, 1783. He removed to Cincinnati, when a boy, that city being then a small town. There he grew to manhood, and was married to Elizabeth Mills. He then removed to the Dry Fork of Whitewater, and attached himself to the Quakers. He next went to Miami county, Ohio, where he resided from 1827, till 1845. In the latter year he emigrated to Indiana, and, 15 years later, came to McDonough county, to reside with his son, A. P. McKee. He died October 12, 1880, and is buried at Oakwood cemetery. He was a pleasant, social man and highly esteemed by all. Aaron P. McKee was born July 16, 1821, in Miami county, Ohio, where his youth was spent. He was engaged for a time in steamboating on the lower Mississippi, as second mate. He then returned to the farm, and in addition to farm work, made brick. In 1850, he emigrated to Indiana, and on the 29th day of April, of the following year, was married to Hannah Hayhurst, who was a native of Miami county, Ohio. Mr. McKee came to this county in 1852. His wife died in 1862, leaving five children--Daniel W., William H., Charley A., Frank P. and Hannah I. He was again married May 28, 1863, to Eliza Cromer, a native of Indiana, who was born March 25, 1840. They have seven children living--John C., Ida M., Aaron P., Kate, Frederick D., Josie and Ruby M. Mr. McKee is an enterprising citizen, takes an interest in educational matters; has been school director, and is a member of the I. O. O. F.

Charles W. Dallam, the subject of this sketch, was born in Maryland, February 16, 1817. When he was 20 years of age, he returned to Ohio, and in 1840, was married. He remained in Ohio until after the death of his wife. The fruits of this marriage were born--Samuel W., Mathias W., Margaret J., Jos. S., John W. and William W. January 25, 1855, he was married to Mary Plotts. By this marriage he has had four children. For some time he resided in Macomb, where he was engaged in manufacturing threshing machines. He aided in building the North mill, and ran it until he sold out and moved to the farm where he now resides. He owns a beautiful farm, well improved, and devotes much time to stock. He has filled the office of town clerk, in which position he displayed considerable ability. He is a Master Mason, and stands high in the fraternity. Mr. Dallam is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, and in politics, wishes to be known as a republican.

John Wiley, our subject, was born in Harrison county, Ohio, November 2, 1810. In 1851, he came to Macomb, where he worked at his trade, carpentering, building principally chaff pilers, known as Rolston's patent. In 1849, he with others, visited California, the land of gold and disappointed hopes. During his stay in that region, he visited several localities and was very successful. In 1851, he returned home. He has driven an ox-team across the plains, starting March 2, and reaching his destination, August 18, a romantic story for these days of steam. After his return to Illinois, he lived in Macomb for about three years, after which he purchased and improved the fine farm on which he now resides, and on which he has erected a fine residence, costing $3,000. He is a stock-raiser, and devotes considerable attention to that branch of business. In 1882, he was elected township supervisor, which office he held for two years, and for 14 years, has served the community as school director.

Adam Douglas was born in Scotland, December 31, 1833. He left his native country in 1852, and finally settled in Eldorado township. His parents, John and Janet Douglas, also came to this county and resided here until their death. For some years the family rented land, but by thrift and industry, were enabled to purchase a fine farm, which is the joint property of Adam and his brother, George. March 18, 1864, Adam Douglas was married to Kate Kelly, and the fruit of that union is five children--John T., James K., Bessie, George C. and Charles A. The career of Mr. Douglas is a fine example of what may be accomplished by a determined will, united with proper business tact. He started with nothing, and now, comparatively a young man, finds himself surrounded by plenty, the result of his own labor. His residence is a model, and cost about $3,000. In politics, Mr. Douglas is a republican.

Abram A. Adair, is a native of Summit county, Ohio, and was born March 25, 1842. His parents, Alfred and Patty Adair, were natives of Connecticut, and trace their descent from the Plymouth pilgrims. Abram worked on the farm in Ohio, until 1868, when he moved to Missouri. He remained seven years in the above named state, and then settled in Emmet township, in McDonough county. He was married in Missouri, August 31, to Sarah E. McCord. He enlisted in June, 1862, in the 104th Ohio volunteers, and served with credit, participating in several pitched battles, and a number of skirmishes. Mr. Adair was wounded but not permanently disabled, and at the close of his term of service was mustered out at Cincinnati. He has filled the office of supervisor, and is an earnest republican.

D. R. Ferster, was born June 22, 1822. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and in 1865, removed from that state to McDonough county, settling in Chalmers township, where he owned 80 acres of land. In the fall of 1870, he removed to Macomb township, where he now owns 100 acres of fine land. He also owns a house and three lots in the city of Macomb. He was married, January 15, 1843, in Pennsylvania, and one son, Henry M., has grown to manhood. The son named above married Elizabeth Wayland, and owns 76 acres of land. He has six living children--Ada M., Effie C., William R., Clements, Luther, and Samuel C. James, the second son, died February 4, 1869, and his remains are interred in the Camp Creek cemetery. The family are members of the Evangelical Lutheran church, Macomb.

Stephen V. R. Gloyd, the subject of this sketch, was born in Hampshire county, Massachusetts, February 22, 1826. His parents, Stephen and Hulda Gloyd, were of English descent, and most worthy people. Mr. Gloyd's father died some years since, but his mother is still living, at the advanced age of 84 years. Our subject served two years as a member of the assembly, and has been a member of the board of supervisors for 14 years. Our subject improved a fine farm in New York state, literally hewing it out of the timber. He now owns a good farm in this county, which he has greatly improved since taking possession, and may be considered an active and prosperous farmer. Previous to his removal to this county, in 1868, he had lived for one year in Knox county. He devotes much attention to stock-raising, and in this branch, has been very successful. He was married in October, 1850, to Louisa Smith, a native of New York. She died May 11, 1874, and is interred in Oakwood cemetery. Four children were the result of this marriage, and three are living. The family are members of the Methodist church, and when it comes to voting, Mr. Gloyd always drops a republican ticket into the box.

Isaac F. and Andrew J. Cline, the subjects of this sketch, are the sons of William Cline. The latter was born in Fleming county, Kentucky, September 6, 1788, and was married to Nancy Filson, February 9, 1809, and by this union was the parent of eight children--Penelope, John, William, Charles, Elizabeth, Caroline, James M., Samuel F. and Mary M., who have all passed away to the land of rest, except Samuel, who resides in Montogomery county, Kansas. After the death of his first wife, William Cline, was united in marriage with Martha Fulton, born in Fleming county, Kentucky, November 7, 1796. The date of this marriage was September 29, 1828. By this union there were five children--Isaac F., born February 27, 1830; Andrew J., born September 14, 1831; Elizabeth F., born october 9, 1834; Martha Ann, born November 11, 1837. William Cline died in his native county, June 7, 1847. After the death of their father, in the fall of 1850, his widow, with her family, moved to Vermont, Fulton county, and from thence to McDonough, where a farm of 140 acres was purchased--afterward increased to 290 acres besides this. Andrew J. owns 40 acres in Macomb township. This land the sons have improved until it ranks among the best farms in the county. They have built a dwelling house at a cost of $2,200, with neat and commodious stables, barns, and other farm buildings. They devote their time chiefly to raising grain and stock, in which they are very successful. Martha Cline, the mother, died November 18, 1864, and her remains are interred in the cemetery near Vermont, Fulton county. I. F., A. J. and Elizabeth, are on this old homestead; Thomas F., resides in Neosho, Kansas, and Martha, wife of Joseph Patterson lives in Macomb township. Elizabeth Cline, a sister, is a member of the Christian church.

Robert E. Ellison is a native of Adams county, Ohio, born April 5, 1811. His parents came there with the first emigrants, and settled at Three Islands, now Manchester, in 1791, and was in constant fear of the Indians, who made raids on them and captured his father's brother, and held him one year, and others of the small colony at different times. Robert lost both his parents at an early age, and the care of a large family of younger sisters and brothers fell to his lot. In time the family dwindled down to but few, and in 1851, he married Ann Work, and as a result had eight children, four of whom are dead--Sarah R., William, Isabell and Thomas. Those yet alive--John, Elizabeth, Oscar and Jennie. He came to Illinois in 1860, purchased a farm of 160 acres, upon which he resides.

George Upp, the subject of this sketch, is a native of Perry county, Ohio, and was born July 23, 1823, and was the son of John and Margaret Upp. Mr. Upp's mother died when he was quite young, and after several removals, and having reached the years of manhood, he decided to make his home farther west. He was married January 10, 1847, to Rachel Towers, and 1851 started for his future home, finally locating in McDonough county. He made the journey by wagon, bringing his family and household goods. He rented land for one year, and then purchased 160 acres where he now resides. He continued to add to his farm until he now owns 815 acres, 790 of this in one tract. He owns four dwelling houses situated on different parts of the farm, and rents the greater portion of his land. He owns a large tract of fine timber land, and devotes himself chiefly to the raising of fine stock. Of his three children two are living--Nelson and Daniel. In politics, Mr. Upp is a democrat.

Cass A. Morey was born in Knox county, Ohio, April 7, 1850, and is the son of Peter and Rebecca Morey. The family emigrated to Illinois in 1856, setting in Ogle county, and in 1859 came to McDonough county. They resided here 17 years, and then removed to Prairie City, and in 1883, Cass removed to the farm on which he now lives. He was educated at the Branch college, Macomb, and commenced teaching school in 1880, his first school being that in district 2, Sciota township; he taught the Good Hope school in the winter of 1884-5. March 15, 1883, he was married to Mary A. Campbell, a daughter of John S. Campbell, who had been a resident of Sciota township for 20 years, and who is now living in Iowa. Mr. Morey owns 75 acres of land, well improved, is a member of the Christian church, and I. O. O. F., and in politics, is a republican.

Aaron Bennett, the father of Dayton Bennett, was born December 1, 1800, in New London, Connecticut. He grew to manhood in Connecticut, and in 1823 went to Albany county, where he engaged in farming. He was married March 12, 1823, to Rosa Ella Burrows. One son--Jefferson--was born of this marriage, and died in Albany county at the age of 26. The family then moved to Brooklyn, where, for some time, Mr. Bennett worked in a fur factory, in which business he was not successful. He then moved to Staten county, where for 17 years he lived on a farm. His wife died in Richmond county, 1838, and November 15, 1838, he was married to Rosella B. Fish. After this marriage Mr. Bennett purchased his father-in-law's farm, and resided there for 17 years, when he removed to Des Moines county, Iowa, where he remained until the fall of 1855, when he made a tour of inspection to McDonough county, and decided to locate there. He purchased a good farm, on which he erected a dwelling at a cost of $2,200. By the second marriage two sons were born--Albert C. and Dayton. Albert enlisted August, 1862, in company I, 78th Illinois infantry, and died at New Berlin, Kentucky, November 12, 1862. Dayton was born March 6, 1849, and for some years has had charge of his father's business. He has a good common school education, and is a member of the I. O. O. F. lodge. The family are members of the Presbyterian church.

S. A. Merriam was born in Jefferson county, New York, March 11, 1839, and is the son of John and Sallie Merriam. His mother's ancestors were natives of England, and his grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. His mother died when he was quite young, and with his father and step-mother, our subject moved to Illinois, in 1853, locating in Fulton county, where they farmed until 1869, when the family removed toAbingdon, Knox county. He was married August 29, 1869, to Mary A. Shields, whose mother was a sister of Judge Shields, of Bushnell. After his marriage he resided for some years in Warren county, and then removed to the farm where he now resides. Mr. and Mrs. Merriam have three children--Anna E., born May 26, 1875; Clarence L., born March 22, 1878, and William Shields, born December 19, 1883. S. A. was educated in the common schools and was a student of Hedding college, Abingdon for 17 months, and has taught school one year. The family are members of the M. E. church.

Joseph Collins, deceased, was born in Preble county, Ohio, October 22, 1819, and when 25 years of age moved to Adams county, Illinois, near Quincy, where he was married February 19, 1853, to Cynthia Collings. In 1857, he removed with his family to McDonough county, where he began to improve a farm. He made slow progress, but eventually was rewarded for his labor by a good, well improved farm, comfortable buildings, etc. He was a member of the M. E. church, of a social disposition, and it can be said of him, that none knew him but to love him. He never enjoyed good health, and died of pneumonia. His remains rest in the beautiful cemetery of Oakwood. When Mr. Collins died he owned 100 acres of land, to which, his sons Albert L., Thomas and Fielding have made considerable additions at a cost of $8,000. The land is all under cultivation, and is one of the best farms in the county. Of Mr. Collin's 10 children, seven are living--Albert L., Alfred N., Thomas E., Fielding L., Mary I. and Vituala E. Alfred W. married Josephine Alwell, and is a model citizen. The family are members of the M. E. church.

George W. Wetsel was born in Augusta county, Virginia, January 18, 1833. He was the son of George and Sarah Wetsel, who were married in 1828. In 1845, they removed from Virginia to Fulton county, Illinois, making the long journey by wagon, and settled near Vermont. Mr. Wetsel finally moved to Harris township, locating on the farm on which he now resides. Mr. Wetsel's family consisted of 10 children, seven sons and three daughters, all living, as are their parents--John N., Christopher, and A. B., live at New Salem; George W., in Macomb; William H., in Kansas; Mrs. Mary C. Bryan, in Fulton county; Mrs. Sarah Lenett, Granville A. and Eliza A., Mound, and Daniel W., who resides on the homestead in Fulton county. George W. Wetsel was married July 16, 1857, to Elizabeth McKee, who was a native of Schuyler county. They have six children, all living--James G., Ezra J., Laura E., Thomas E., George W. and Flora O. Mr. and Mrs. Wetsel after their marriage, lived in New Salem and Mound, and in 1876, came to McDonough county, where he now owns 140 acres of land. He is a trustee and class leader of the United Brethren church, of which the family are members. He is also superintendent of the Sunday school and is a tireless worker in church affairs.

David Runkle was born in Champaign county, Ohio, August 15, 1815, and was one of the first of the Runkle family to emigrate to Illinois.

Wm. J. Runkle, the subject of our sketch, was reared in Ohio, where, September 8, 1836, he married Margaret Kizer, and came to Illinois in 1862. He was the father of 12 children, of whom three are dead, their names are--Emery who lives in Macomb; William, who resides on the homestead; married Emma Vogt, and they have one child, David V.; Francis M.; Lewis, died August 23, 1873; Darius, resides in Macomb township; Stephen, resides on the homestead, Mrs. Mary Lawson, lives in Hutchinson, Kansas, her husband was at one time editor of the Hutchinson Interior, and served two terms in the Kansas legislature; Phebe J., Margaret Ann, Laura A., died July 7, 1870; and Francis M. The last named, enlisted April 21, 1861, in company I, 14th regiment, Illinois volunteers, served three years, and was mustered out in July, 1864. He participated in several of the bloodiest battles of the war--Shiloh, siege of Vicksburg, Black river, and Jackson, he was never wounded or in the hospital. The Runkle farm comprises 525 acres, all in one tract, besides 80 acres in Kansas, all in the name of Wm. J. Runkle. The principal business of the farm is stock raising, feeding every year from 80 to 120 head of cattle, and about 300 hogs. The business is very profitable and is well managed.

H. H. McElvain is a native of Ohio, and was born February 13, 1824, and when 10 years of age, with his parents moved to LaGrange county, Indiana. He was the son of George and Sarah McElvain, both natives of Pennsylvania. From Indiana the family moved to this state, 1846, settling near Blandinsville, where they improved a farm of 270 acres. Mr. McElvain, Sr., died in August, 1881, in Walnut Grove township, aged 90 years. He was a man possessed of an iron constitution and admirably adapted to the privations of pioneer life. Our subject was married June 10, 1949, to Latitia A. Cox, who was a native of Breckenridge county, Kentucky. After his marriage, Mr. McElvain improved a small farm, and in the fall of 1855, moved to Macomb township and improved a large farm. He now owns a large farm well improved and valuable, together with real estate and dwelling houses in Bushnell. Mr. McElvain's career is a fine illustration of what can be done by industry and perseverance. He was a poor boy, and by his own efforts has acquired a competence. His house cost over $4,000 and is the best in the township. He is principally engaged in stock raising. Mr. and Mrs. McElvain have had born to them three children, of which, one, Eugene, died in childhood. The remaining children--Oscar, born in 1852, was married December 20, 1882, to Miama H. Stickle, they have had one child, Bessie Maple; Junia Etta, born February 23, 1860, married October 19, 1882, to R. S. Halladay, and died December 20, 1883, leaving one child, Etta Glenn. Mr. McElvain has served as road commissioner for 15 years, and with his family, is a member of the M. E. church.

Levi H. Shriner was born in Frederick county, Maryland, October 19, 1838, and is the son of John and Martha Shriner, both natives of Maryland. The family, in 1847, moved to Fulton county, Illinois, and there our subject grew to manhood. His mother died in Maryland, but her place was supplied by his step-mother, who was before her marriage, Mrs. Margaret Rister. In 1859, Levi went to Kansas, and after a short sojourn, they returned to Fulton county, and in March, 1861, moved to McDonough county, where he purchased 120 acres of land. He now owns 160 acres on section 5, beside other farm lands. His home farm is well improved, the dwelling house being erected at a cost of $3,500, with good barns and other farm buildings. He devotes considerable attention to raising the better grades of stock, and his fine pastures. Mr. Shriner was married December 27, 1864, to Hattie Collins, a daughter of Alex. Collins of Adams county. They have three children--Junia, Pearl and Myrtle. The family are members of the M. E. church, of which Mr. Shriner is trustee. He has held the office of township collector, and in politics is a republican.

Andrew J. Bryan was born January 12, 1838. His father died in Virginia, in 1839, and his mother afterward married John Swisher, who in 1855, with his family, including Mr. Bryan, moved to this state and county. Our subject worked for some time by the month, and finally located on a farm near New Philadelphia. On February 28, 1861, he was married to Lizzie Rose. After several changes, Mr. Bryan finally located on section 10, Macomb township, and so well has he prospered that he now owns the entire southeast quarter of the section, besides 80 acres of choice land in another locality. He may be classed among the progressive and successful farmers. Mr. and Mrs. Bryan are the parents of four living children--Dora A., Sarah E., Newton A. and Jessie. The family are consistent members of the United Brethren church, and take great interest in its welfare.

Adam Zirkel was born in Hesse-Cassel, Germany, September 17, 1825. His parents died in Germany, and our subject, after attending school until he was 17 years of age, was bound apprentice to a blacksmith, and served three years, according to the German apprentice law. Becoming dissatisfied with life in the Fatherland, he emigrated to America, settling near New Brunswick, state of New Jersey, where he worked for various farmers, receiving the princely salary of $4 per month. After working two years in New Jersey, he moved to Fulton county, Illinois, where he worked by the year for two years, getting good wages. He had saved $40 from work in New Jersey, which he loaned at 3 per cent. Soon after coming to Fulton county, he was married to Mahala Towers, and rented a farm in Walnut Grove township. He was very successful as a farmer, and was, in a few years, able to purchase the farm on which he now resides, and erected a comfortable house, costing $1,800. Mr. and Mrs. Zirkel have no children of their own, but have an adopted child, who is known as Carrie Zirkel. He is a member of the Dutch Reformed church. Mr. Zirkel has a large sum of money at interest, and is a good type of the honest, thrifty farmer.

Eli Holler is a native of McDonough county. He was born November 27, 1851. He made his home in this county until he was 21 years of age, when he went to Page county, Iowa, and remained there two years. In 1874 he returned to McDonough county, and purchased the farm where he now resides. The land at that time was unimproved, and the buildings of little value. Since that time he has built a house costing $1,600, erected comfortable barns and improved his farm. In 1872, he was married to Farnzina Jackson. Six children have blessed this union--Lucinda A., Rena B., Clara M., Gertrude T., Olive E. and Meda A. Mr. Holler is an enthusiastic fancier of fine horses, and prefers Clydesdales, which he makes a specialty. He has purchased the best stock that could be procured, and is famous for his fine horses, which have been a source of considerable profit.

John B. Ames was born in Hart county, Kentucky, October 8, 1824. His parents were Erasmus and Mary Ames. His father died when he was quite young, and he remained with his widowed mother. He married, February 5, 1847, to Martha E. Lord, a native of Kentucky. When they were married, Mr. Ames was very poor, and worked for a time in a plow factory. He purchased land in Indiana, then went home and worked for $8 per month to raise money to make his first payment. He was successful, and sold out for a good price, receiving gold and silver in payment. He continued to speculate in land, and was very successful. He moved to Illinois in 1864, and settled near Macomb. He bought land for $20 an acre, which he afterward sold at $50 an acre, clearing a snug sum by the operation. He was one of the first to use drain tile in the county, laying 2-inch tiling. He now owns 320 acres of good land, and has given farms to his children. He has raised a family of seven children--Samuel S., married Lucinda Patterson; Willis, married Panthea Riggs; Nancy, married James Cannon; Elizabeth, married Frank Pierce; Eliza, Jezekiah and John. Mr. Ames is a member of the Christian church. All his trading is in land, in which he has had phenomenal success.

Nathaniel Owens is a native of Bedford, Lawrence county, Indiana, where he was born, February 9, 1841. His father died in 1842, and his widow married John Low, with whom, in 1852, Nathaniel came to Illinois. He worked for various persons until August 9, 1862., when he enlisted in company A, 84th Illinois infantry, and served until June 8, 1865, when he was mustered out of the service at Nashville, Tennessee. He participated in the battles of Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain, etc. He was wounded in the last engagement, and sent to Nashville, where he remained from June until October. He was then sent to Chattanooga, and in March, 1865, joined the regiment at Huntsville, Alabama. After his discharge, he returned to Illinois, and worked for John M. Crabb, and others. He farmed in their vicinity until February 17, 1870, when he was married to Charity Hollenberg. He had an interest in the Tunnicliff farm, and remained there four years, when he moved to Chalmers township, where he purchased a farm of 120 acres. He has, in addition to his own farm, worked Mr. Tunnicliff's farm, and ships his surplus products to Chicago. He has four children living, and three deceased. His first wife died February 5, 1883. He was married, the second time, to Margaret J. Bennett, a native of Pennsylvania. Mr. Owens is a member of the Masonic order, and has reached the degree of Master Mason.

EDUCATIONAL

From the last report of the county superintendent, for the school year ending June 30, 1884, it is found that the estimated value of school property in Macomb township amounts to $9,400, being free from any bonded indebtedness. The amount of tax levy for the support of schools amounts to $3,350. The highest monthly wages paid any male teacher is $60, and the lowest, $35. The highest wages paid female teachers is $40, and the lowest, $20 per month. There are eight school buildings in the township, all of which are frame, and the average number of months of school annually is eight. There are 270 pupils enrolled in the schools of the district township, and 377 children of school age. One district in the township has a graded school.

District No. 2.--The school house stands on the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 10. There is one acre of ground about this building belonging to the district, for which $50 was paid to L. H. Shriner. The building was erected in 1856, at the time the district was set off. The directors at that time were: Madison Irven, chairman; L. H. Shriner and A. Switzer. The building, furniture, etc., cost about $1,800. A tax of $2 was levied for school purposes, and $3 for building, and the amount was paid up in two years. Since that time they have had nine months of school each year. The present directors are: H. H. McElvain, chairman; D. C. Harris, treasurer; Albert Collins, secretary.

District No. 4.--The meeting for the organization of this district, was held at the house of John M. Crabb, on the 8th day of February, 1858. Directors were chosen as follows: R. B. Hampton, president; George Upp, and I. N. VanMeter, clerk. The first school house was built by William McCandless, at a cost of $375. This building is now standing where it was erected, on the southwest quarter of section 16. It is 20x24 feet in size. The first teacher was Mary Spangler, and the next was Caroline Spangler. The directors for 1885, are: W. J. Runkle, president; Daniel M. Crabb, clerk, and John A. Crabb.

CLAY BANK

Runkle's clay bank is located near the southeast quarter of section 16, Macomb township. It was first discovered by Frank Runkle, who noticed the clay sticking to the legs of cattle which crossed a ravine that passed through the land. Stephen, William and Frank Runkle, then sunk a well, and after digging 13 feet, procured an auger and commenced boring. The found, after going lower, potter's clay, between two layers of rock. Under the lower layer of rock, they struck fire-clay, of splendid quality. It was not operated to any extent, till 1880. The Runkle Bros., operated it at first, for Eddy & Co. Benjamin Myers took charge of it in October, 1880, and worked it about a year. George Dexter next operated it, and after a year, Elisha Runkle came in as partner. All these took out the clay for Eddy & Co. This firm run it themselves after Dexter & Runkle discontinued. William Stone operates the bank for them. In 1884, 2,310 tons were taken out for Eddy & Co., while other potteries got about 2,250 tons of the product. It is sold at an average of 20 cents per ton. This price is in the way of royalty, as the proprietors of the land do not have to handle the clay. This bank supplies all the clay used by the Macomb potteries, and a great deal for the tile works.

LYCEUM

In the school house of district No. 4, have been held some fine lyceum meetings. They commenced here in 1862, but the society was organized at the old Prairie school house, and meetings had been held there for some. Among the principal workers in this society, were: Daniel M. Crabb, Thomas Grant, now of Monmouth, Robert Grant, Mead Bros., Cyrus Van Meter, Ed. Ayers, Dr. Westfall, of Bushnell, Hiram Van Meter, Edward Fuhr, David Maguire, William Fuhr, Elder Newton Walker, now presiding elder of the United Brethren, and Samuel Crabb, who was a warm debater. For a time meetings were held at Pleasant Hill, and while there, five sons of Andrew McMahon were members. This gentleman is enthusiastic in his praises of the work done by these meetings, and he attributes much of their success in life, to the improvement of their minds at these meetings. The debates are still continued, though many of the most interested have moved away, and there are not so many members of the lyceum society as formerly.

CREAMERY

In October, 1883, A. A. Adair and C. V. Chandler commenced operations in their creamery, which is located on section 31, Macomb township. They commenced business by using the milk furnished by 40 cows, but they have increased the capacity as business has grown, until they now use the product of 60 cows, besides a large quantity of milk furnished by farmers in all the contiguous territory. They now employ eight cream wagons on the road, and get milk from portions of McDonough, Hancock and Schuyler counties. The creamery building proper is 30x42 feet in ground area, with ice house in the rear. The machinery is run by steam power, and the engine is well suited to this work. The vats and churns are well arranged, and the works may be said to have all the latest improvements for making butter. The creamery has a capacity of 1,500 pounds a day, the major part of which finds a market in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, though some is shipped to Chicago. They make a superior quality of butter, which is a source of profit to its proprietors, and besides adds an important item to the industries of McDonough county. Cream for their works is obtained from as far south as Colmar. Calves and hogs are kept by the proprietors to use up the surplus milk and refuse of the creamery.

RELIGIOUS

The organization of the Greenwood M. E. church was effected in 1857. Their church building is located on section 2.

GRIST AND SAW MILL

A mill of this description was built by George Miller and Abner Walker, in 1832 or 3, near the place now owned by David Holler. They operated it for a time, when Miller sold his interest to Walker. It afterward passed into several different hands and was operated by water power until rented by Thomas Rabbit, when it was converted into a steam mill. It has since been destroyed.

ORGANIZATION

The first election under township organization, occurred on the 7th day of April, 1857. W. S. Hail and W. I. Hendricks were elected justices of the peace. J. O. C. Wilson was the first police magistrate, having been elected on the 4th of May, 1857. W. S. Hendricks was first supervisor. The present officers of the townhip are as follows: Supervisor, J. A. Bricker; clerk, H. A. Maxwell; collector, W. M. Thompson; assessor, I. Cline; school trustees, John Randolph, Robert Crabb, and J. M. Jackson; highway commissioner, Henry Graham; justices of the peace, C. L. VanMeter and Lewis Wilson; constables, John Hindman and Samuel Helms.

FIRST ITEMS

The first Sunday school in the township, was organized at the house of George Miller, in 1837, by Rev. William H. Jackson, assisted by James Harris and Michael Vincent.

The first brick house was built by a man by the name of Lovell, on section 26, in 1836.

James Clarke was the first justice of the peace.

W. S. Hendricks was the first supervisor.


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 984-999. Transcribed by Karl A. Petersen