Albert Ogden was born in 1798 in New York, and was of English descent. He came to Ohio at an early day and there worked at his trade as a cooper. He married Margaret Riddle, who was born in Pennsylvania. Her descent was rather mixed, as her ancestors were Scotch, Irish, Welch and Dutch.
Albert Ogden lived in Madison County, Ohio, for a long while, and was a famous hunter there. He often hunted deer by torchlight on Deer Creek. This creek in some places spread out into ponds, and here the deer came in the night time to feed on moss. Mr. Ogden hunted with a canoe at night. He placed a torch in the canoe, and in front of the torch was a board with a hole in it, giving the torch the appearance of a dark lantern. Behind the board was the hunter. He could comp up within a few rods of the deer, as they were feeding on the moss, for they would gaze at the light with astonishment. Mr. Ogden understood the nature of deer, and hunted them accordingly. In Madison County were many barrens, and on these were knolls of ground. When the deer were scared they were sure to run up on a knoll and look around. Mr. Ogden, understanding this, would take his position near a knoll, and send his boy around to scare u p the deer, which would run to the knoll, and there Mr. Ogden's unerring rifle would bring them down.
Albert Ogden came to Money Creek timber, McLean County, Illinois, in the fall of 1831, and there helped his son Benjamin to make his farm. He did very little hunting after his arrival in the West, but worked hard and faithfully. He died August 13, 1845. He had ten children, of whom eight grew up. They are:
Mrs. Polly Dawson, wife of James R. Dawson, lives in Money Creek township.
Abner Ogden died in Ohio, never came West.
Jonathan Ogden lives in Money Creek township.
Benjamin Ogden died in September, 1873, at his home in Money Creek timber.
Deborah Ogden was first married to Hiram Tipton, and after his death she was married to Elder Henry Stump.
John Ogden lives in Money Creek township.
Susannah Ogden was married to William Orendorff. She and her husband are both dead.
Samuel Ogden lives on Buck Creek in Money Creek township.
John Ogden, was born May 23, 1807, in Madison County, Ohio. He was, in his youth, an active young man, and accustomed to work, and had little taste for hunting. His brother, Samuel, who now lives north of the Mackinaw, was the hunter of the family. John Ogden went to school in Ohio, but was not a very forward scholar, as it required six months for him to go far enough in the spelling book to come to the word "baker."
He was married in April, 1826, when not quite nineteen years of age, to Esther Stretch. In 1832, the year of the Black Hawk war, he moved to Illinois, and his journey was a hard one through the mud and rain. He was often deep in the mud and water, but says he always felt safe as long as he could see the oxen's horns! He was more than a month on the road, but arrived at last at Mackinaw timber, where he bought out a man named Carlin, and settled down as a farmer. He worked hard, broke up a few acres of prairie and planted it in corn. A variety was given to frontier life in 1832 by the panics, to which the settlers were liable during the Black Hawk war. When the soldiers returned, shooting squirrels on their way through the timber, the people were universally frightened.
Mr. Ogden made the usual trips to various parts of the country to mill, and went often to Chicago to market. At one time, on his return from Chicago, he attempted to ride one of his oxen across the Illinois River, while the ice was running; but the ice struck his ox and made it plunge, and Mr. Ogden was thrown into the water.
Mr. Ogden had six children by his first marriage. They are:
Benjamin, who died at the age of sixteen years, six months and twenty-six days.
Hiram, who died in California, when nearly twenty-one.
Elizabeth, wife of Frank Johnson, of Money Creek, died June 22, 1873.
Sarah Adeline, wife of Hugh Hineman, died about nine years ago.
Lafayette lives in Mackinaw timber, near his father's.
Helen, wife of William Orendorff, lives at Blooming Grove.
Mrs. Ogden died October 14, 1858, and on the fifth of March, 1861, Mr. Ogden married Mary Abbot. By this marriage he has two children, Arnettie and Hattie Eleanor, who both live at home.
Mr. Ogden is about five feet and a half in height. His hair is curly and black, and is becoming slightly gray. He weighs about one hundred and eighty-five pounds, and is healthy, with the exception of poor eyesight, which prevents him from working much.
Jonathan Ogden was born February 6, 1801, in Pickaway County, Ohio, on the Pickaway Plains, on the southeastern bank of the Ohio River. When he was two years of age the family moved to Madison County. There Jonathan grew up as most other boys did, with a fair development of fun and humor. The Ogden family farmed and raised stock and raced horses, and the latter was very agreeable to Jonathan. He did not wish to make a business of horse-racing, but wished to see what good horses could be raised. He often tested the speed of his horse by chasing turkeys and deer. He once chased a deer into a man's door-yard, and the latter killed it for Ogden, by the time he came up. Everybody chased deer in those days. Once, while gathering hickory nuts with his brothers and sisters, they heard the baying of hounds, and hid until a deer came bounding along. Then they all rose with yells, and the frightened deer stopped until the hounds came up and took it.
In 1833, Mr. Ogden came to Money Creek timber, McLean County, Illinois, where he arrived September 22nd. After living here a year, he moved to the Little Vermilion, where he spent another year, and then returned to Money Creek timber, where he has remained ever since.
Mr. Ogden has had some little experience with the animals of the West, and speaks particularly of that vicious little creature, the badger, which makes the hardest fight for its size of any wild animal in the West. The back of its neck is covered by a skin so thick and tough, that nothing can hurt it there. This is the very place where a dog is likely to take hold of it: but the badger scarcely minds it and fights harder than ever. It can never be whipped, until it is seized by the throat.
Jonathan Ogden married, between Christmas and New Years, in 1824, Andria Rutan. He has had eleven children, all of whom are grown up. They are:
Maria, wife of Isaac Coon, lives in Gridley township.
Margaret died in her seventeenth year.
Mary, wife of Adam Hinthorn, lives in Money Creek timber.
Delilah, wife of Jacob Coon, is dead.
Sarah, wife of Nelson Manning, lives at her father's house.
Deborah, wife of Hiram Stretch, lives on the east side of Money Creek.
Susan, wife of Joshua Busick, lives in Gridley township.
Creighton Ogden lives at the head of the Mackinaw.
Elizabeth, wife of Marion Busick, lives near Towanda.
James H. and Daniel R. Ogden live at home.
Mr. Ogden is less than the medium height, weighs not quite a hundred and forty pounds, has black eyes and hair. His beard, once black, is now becoming gray. He feels the effects of age, but his temper is as kind and pleasant as ever.
Samuel Ogden, son of Albert Ogden, was born August 1, 1809, in Madison County, Ohio. He was early taught to work, for when he was only four or five years old his father gave him and his brother John each a hoe, and set them at work hoeing corn. Samuel made clean work of it, and hoed up weeds and corn indiscriminately.
He was often taken to church by his mother, while he was small, and she tried to cultivate in him the love of orthodoxy. He never joined a church, as he could not decide which was the best. He very much preferred to attend horse-races, and went to see horses run before he was old enough to ride on a race-course himself. At the first race he ever saw, a number of horses ran for a corn purse, that is, every man, who ran his horse, put up some corn, and the winner took the pile. The race-course belonged to old John Funk, who had cut up the corn around his field and made a track. Two or three years afterwards little Samuel became old enough to ride races himself. He became a good judge of horses, and in after years bought a fine mare called "Clear the Kitchen," which could, indeed, clear the kitchen or race-track either. The first time he put her on the track she beat a fine mare belonging to Colonel Gridley. He traded Clear the Kitchen for his Juliet mare, with which he won every race.
Mr. Ogden began to hunt when he was big enough to ride a horse, and would chase turkeys and pheasants, and was sure to catch them the second time they flew up. He would chase deer across the level, open ground, near Deer Creek. He found a great difference in the speed of deer, as much as in the speed of horses. The long-legged bucks could run very fast, while the short-legged ones were easily caught. He hunted with dogs and kept them well in front, in order to give them a fair start, and they always brought down the game. Samuel Ogden hunted wolves, and on his first wolf chase jumped from his horse and caught a wolf by the throat and killed it. He never considered it a sin to kill a wolf on Sunday or any other day. These wolf hunts were taken after Mr. Ogden came to Illinois.
In 1830 he married Nancy Vandolah, in Fayette County, Ohio. In the fall of 1833 he came to Money Creek timber, McLean County, Illinois. He had a muddy journey, but the oxen pulled the wagon through, and it was not very unpleasant. He bought a claim in Money Creek township, on the Mackinaw side, and commenced life as a farmer, but not under the best of circumstances. He had a mare and colt, and an Indian pony. His mare died, and he was obliged to work his farm by hitching up a couple of calves in front of his Indian pony. He succeeded well and moved to Buck Creek north of the Mackinaw, where he entered the most of his land. He also bought some land, and for a part he paid six dollars per acre. He bought the Daily place of two hundred and sixty-five acres for ten thousand dollars. In buying land he was always careful to see that it was well watered. In 1845 he began to deal in cattle, and before long had two hundred head. He is now in comfortable circumstances, and everything he owns is paid for. His health is very good, though he suffers occasionally from a fall from a horse, which he was riding on a race-course at Peoria, some years ago. The horse plunged, that is, jumped stiff-legged with its head down. Mr. Ogden takes his brandy occasionally, but does not believe in drinking much. He loves good old times, when men would fight, not because they were angry, but in order to know who was the better man; and when the contest would close they would "be friends and take a drink." Those were the days when matter were conducted honorably, and whoever was detected in foul play was sure to be counted out, and was not tolerated. Mr. Ogden takes the best of care of his stock and feeds his horses well, for he says that the man, who neglects his horses, never becomes rich.
He has had eleven children, of whom eight grew up and five are living. They are:
Obadiah Ogden, who lives about half a mile east of his father's.
Mrs. Sarah Jane Coon, wife of James Coon, is now dead.
Albert Ogden lives about three-quarters of a mile southwest of his father's.
Mrs. Angela Pirtle, wife of James Pirtle, lives a mile and a half north of her father's.
Alexander Ogden lives at home.
George Ogden (named for George Washington, with the Washington left out!) lives five miles west of his father's, in the Coon settlement.
Mr. Ogden is about five feet and four inches in height, is strongly set and muscular, has a broad face, black eyes, and short black whiskers. He is very active, and few are equal to him in a foot-race. He is fond of good jokes and tells a great many of them. He is exceedingly tough, and will live to be ninety or a hundred years of age.
James K. Orendorff was born December 28, 1812, near Hopkinsville, Kentucky. His parent were of German and Welch descent. His father, William Orendorff, was born in Georgia. He made a visit to Illinois in 1816, and in 1817 came with his family to live here. He settled in St. Clair County and lived there and in Clinton County until the fall of 1822. He lived during the winter of 1822 and '23 in Sangamon County, within six miles of Springfield. During the fall of 1822 he made a visit to Blooming Grove, and moved there on the second day of May, 1823. He first made a log cabin, the hewed puncheons and clapboards and made a house. These early houses were curiosities in their way. The door of Mr. Orendorff's cabin was, he thinks, pinned on with wooden pins. The hearth and fire place were of beaten earth, and the chimney was made of sticks and clay. The first school teacher to whom he went was William H. Hodge, who understood how to teach the little pioneers their a, b, c's successfully. When Mr. Orendorff came here the country was an almost unbroken wilderness. A few miners were at work near Galena, and a few whites at the salt works about six miles this side of Danville.
Mr. Orendorff remembers the changes in the weather. These are matters more particularly noted by the early settlers, as they were more exposed to wind and storm and sudden changes. In the spring of 1827, by the middle of March, the grass was ankle high in the marshes, and the prairies had a greenish tinge, but not enough grass for cattle, except near the sloughs.
The people did their trading at Springfield, and there they went to mill. Every settler who went did trading for himself and his neighbors. People then had very little money to buy with, and nearly all business was done by exchange.
The people then practiced the most rigid economy. They spun their own clothing and colored it with walnut bark, indigo and hickory bark. They raised their own cotton and flax and made their own sugar. They boiled maple sap in large iron kettles, which they bought by weight, giving for them maple sugar and trading pound for pound. The settlers made their own boots and shoes and clothing of all kinds. Mrs. Orendorff a quilt made of cotton by hand before the deep snow. It is finely made and a great curiosity, and Mrs. Orendorff is justly proud of it.
The taxes paid by the people at first went to Vandalia, as that was then the county seat of the great county of Fayette. In 1831, on the Fourth of July, William Orendorff, the father of James, was the auctioneer to sell the town lots of Bloomington, as on that day the little town was born.
Mr. James K. Orendorff takes great interest in the peculiar customs of the first settlers and the devices used by them in their labor. Their wheat was first separated from the straw by tramping it out with horses. They cleaned the wheat by throwing it in the air and allowing the wind to blow out the chaff, or by letting it fall from some altitude and fanning it with a sheet which two persons waved in the air. The settlers would use a hollow log or one which they gouged out with an axe, for a sugar trough or as a convenient receptacle for pork. Old Ephraim Stout was most skillful in the work of making these troughs and used them for wash tubs. He put legs to them to hold them up and fitted pins in the bottoms to empty the water. An old Vermonter used a tin pan scoured up brightly, as a looking glass. One would think that a device of such a nature would have been discovered by a woman. The pitchforks used by early settlers were made of wood, and it was many years before the iron-toothed forks were seen in the West.
Mr. Orendorff was in the Black Hawk war and was a member of the company commanded by Merritt Covel. The company went first to Pekin, from there to Peoria and on to Dixon's Ferry. They had very few provisions. On their way to Dixon they joined the command of Major Stillman at Red Oak Grove. There Mr. Orendorff and six others lost their horses, but he came along on foot. When the command came to a high ridge, overlooking the Winnebago Swamps, they saw far off to the left down Rock River a smoke suddenly rising, which was supposed to be a signal made by the Indians of the coming of the whites. Major Stillman's men left their baggage wagons at the Winnebago Swamps, and made a forced march to Dixon's Ferry, where they arrived at night. The next morning their baggage wagons came in, and one of the soldiers (Bob Harbert) said, "they arrived more by good luck than good conduct." They remained for several days at Dixon, until the "Governor's troops" with Governor Reynolds came up. Major Stillman's men there drew five days' provisions and went up Rock River on the famous expedition which resulted in "Stillman's Run." When the five days' provisions were drawn, the baggage wagons were empty. As Mr. Orendorff had no horse he did not go up Rock River with his company, but took the empty baggage wagons back to Winnebago Swamps to meet Captain McClure's company, and carried orders for Captain McClure to turn up Rock River with his men and provisions, in order to supply the men under Stillman. There Mr. Orendorff got his horse, which had been found by John Rhodes, Owen Cheney, and others. It was a fine, dark, chestnut sorrel, and he has the same breed yet. Captain McClure's company had no provisions, and they came immediately on to Dixon's Ferry, where they arrived the evening before Stillman's defeat. The second morning afterwards from two o'clock until eleven Stillman's men came straggling in. On that day the greater part of the army went up to bury the dead of Stillman's Run, but Mr. Orendorff was sent with some others down to the rapids, ten or fifteen miles distant, to bring up provisions which were taken up that far in keel boats. Nothing further of any consequence occurred, in which Mr. Orendorff took part, previous to the discharge of the men, and the re-organization of the army. The soldiers in the Black Hawk war were remarkable for their ingenuity and good management under the difficulties and hardships to which they were subjected. They mixed up their flour in a hollow hickory bark, put a piece of the dough on a stick and roasted it. They made meal soup of water, meal and gravy, after frying their meat; and the resorted to a thousand ingenious devices to prepare their food and make themselves comfortable under difficulties.
When the country was new, all lumber for building purposes was first hewed out with axes, but afterwards a great improvement was made when the whip saw was introduced. The log to be sawed was first made square, the raised high enough from the ground for a man to stand under it conveniently, and the whip saw was pulled up and down, one man standing above and another below. Two hundred feet of lumber could be sawed out in a day.
The land in Illinois was surveyed in October, 1832, but the sale did not take place until 1829, and then the settlers had to be active in securing their titles.
Game was plenty in early days. On the Okaw River Mr. Orendorff saw deer in droves of from fifty to three hundred, indeed the number of deer in the country was astonishing. When the settlers came in they cultivated corn, which stood ungathered during the winter, and the deer fed on it and came out in the spring in fine condition. In addition to this the settlers made constant war on the wolves, gave bounties for their scalps, and hunted them with dogs and horses, and as these pests of the earth became thinned out the deer multiplied more rapidly. The Indians went down to the Okaw in the fall to hunt deer and returned in the spring.
Mr. Orendorff remembers among the Indians two old squaws, Peggy and Nancy, who stayed in Blooming Grove during the winter while the tribe went down on the Okaw. Aunt Peggy was supposed to have been the wife of Simon Girty, the celebrated white renegade. Both of these squaws were splendidly formed women. Aunt Nancy was fully six feet in height.
James K. Orendorff is of rather less than the medium stature, has small, dark, expressive eyes, is a hard worker, gets on well in the world, has a fine farm well stocked, and appears prosperous. He is a man of positive ideas, and thinks he would rather rely upon the honesty of the old settlers than upon the obligations imposed by law. He thinks a great deal of his family, takes pride in them and makes great exertions for their welfare and comfort. He married, May 4, 1837, Miss Lovina Sales, daughter of Elias and Sarah Sales. They have had six children, of whom four are living. One died in infancy. The children are:
William Orendorff, born December 9, 1839, lives temporarily on his grandfather's place, about half a mile north of his father's house.
Perry Orendorff, born July 7, 1842, lives in West township, section thirty six.
James Orendorff, born August 20, 1844, lives at home.
Mary Francis Orendorff, born September 21, 1847, lives at home.
Sarah Adeline Orendorff, born January 21, 1854, died February 7, 1857.
Oliver H. P. Orendorff was born May 16, 1822, in Washington County, Illinois. When he was about one year old his father came to that part of Fayette County, which now forms the county of McLean, and settled at Blooming Grove. This was on the second of May, 1823. Mr. O. H. P. Orendorff has lived here ever since. The first school he attended was kept by William H. Hodge. Books were then scarce in the West and the one Oliver studied was an old fashioned almanac. He was rather a precocious youth and his memory goes back to an early period. He remembers when David Cox came to the country, which was in September, 1826. Mr. Orendorff went to school to Mr. Hodge, when it was kept about a mile distant. He was then very small, and at one time, when the weather was cold, he would have been frozen to death, had he not been dragged to the school-house by his sister and Maria Dawson.
The great hurricane, which swept through Blooming Grove came on the nineteenth of June, 1827. Although the house, where the Orendorffs lived, was not in the immediate track of the hurricane, it blew there fearfully. While it was coming up even the beasts of the field understood the danger. The Orendorff boys, who were at home alone, had just driven up the cattle, and when the dumb creatures saw the coming storm they took refuge in a new and unoccupied log house. The hurricane unroofed the houses of William Evans and William Walker, although they were not in its immediate track. It passed through the timber and piled up the trees in some places twenty feet high. Nothing in the forest could stand before it. The trees were broken and twisted and torn. About nineteen days afterwards as Mr. William Orendorff and some others were looking at the wreck of the scattered timber, they found a hog pinned fast to the ground by the limb of a tree and much bruised and unable to move. The logs were cut and it was released from confinement and afterwards made a fine porker. The width of the hurricane was about half a mile and its length no one knows. Its direction was almost due east. It passed through Blooming Grove at about twilight in the evening.
During the winter of the deep snow Mr. Orendorff went to school to Cheney Thomas through the timber. After the heavy snow fell a road was broken and the little Orendorffs by passing back and forth kept the road clear. But outside of the timber no road remained broken longer than a few hours, as the snow drifted over it. The Orendorff family suffered very little during this winter, but many families were so distressed with the cold and lack of corn that they allowed their cattle to take care of themselves. The corn crop during the season previous was very fine, but the season following was so cold and short by reason of the length of time required to melt away the deep snow, that very little corn came to maturity. The suffering caused by the difficulty of obtaining food was sometimes extreme. A man named Rood, who lived on Rook's Creek about twenty miles north of Lexington, became short of provisions, and it seemed that his family must starve. He made himself some snow shoes, took a hand sled and walked twenty miles to where Lexington now is, and there found corn which he took home to his starving family.
Mr. Orendorff has a lively recollection of the Indians, and particularly of two squaws, Aunt Peggy and Aunt Nancy. These squaws were pretty well educated, and it is said that, while listening to a backwoods preacher, the amused themselves by criticising his grammatical blunders. They often came to the house of Mrs. Orendorff (mother of Oliver) and helped her wash and do her work. They were particularly pleased with children, and greatly admired every likely looking white papoose. They took a great fancy to Oliver, and wished to bring him up and make an Indian chief of him.
Mrs. Orendorff died on the 9th of November, 1831, and this sad event affected Oliver very deeply.
Oliver Orendorff had a somewhat adventurous disposition. When he was very young he went with his brother James with a six horse team to St. Louis for a load of goods for Greenberry Larison. They passed through Springfield, which was then a village of log huts. In 1834 he went with a party of drovers to White Oak Springs, near Galena, with a lot of hogs. They crossed Rock River at Dixon's Ferry, and there Mr. Orendorff saw old Father Dixon, the only white inhabitant at that point. At Kellogg's Grove, where during the Black Hawk war Colonel Dement had fought the Indians with his Spy Battalion, he saw the bones of horses and a human skull. Although Oliver was only twelve years of age, he was taken along with these drovers for something besides amusement; it was his business to take care of a team. He was then a "sassy" little driver, but hardy and tough. He had no remarkable adventure on the way. He often went to Chicago, was once seventeen days on his journey, and received only fifty cents a bushel for his wheat. Of course he always camped out on these expeditions.
During the sudden change in the weather in December, 18836, Oliver Orendorff was at school. The ground was covered with slush and water, and young Benjamin Cox made a wish that the weather would turn cold, and freeze over the creek. It did turn cold, so cold that many of the scholars could not go home; the little Orendorffs were "weather-bound," and staid over night at William Michael's. The following morning Oliver went home on horseback, and while crossing a creek his horse broke through the ice at a riffle and at the same time went under a low hanging limb of a tree which brushed Oliver from the horse's back. Unfortunately he got his boot full of water but he mounted his horse and rode home, a half a mile distant, on the keen run. When he arrived there his boot was frozen fast to his foot, and he had great difficulty in pulling it off.
During the famous wet season of 1844, Mr. Orendorff moved the goods and stock of an aunt of his to Iowa. He started on the 9th of May, walked the whole distance and with his cousin drove twenty head of cattle. They waded and swam the sloughs and creeks, and crossed the Illinois River by wading, ferrying and swimming. The horses attached to their wagon went through with much kicking, and scratching, but came out safe at last. He returned home by the fourth of June, and says that during all the time he was gone his clothes were never once entirely dry. He helped his uncle plant corn before he started, and on his return helped his father plant corn, as the ground had been difficult to plow on account of the wet.
The first camp-meeting Mr. Orendorff ever attended was held on the place where he now lives. The Rev. Peter Cartwright was present, and preached in his most interesting and humorous style.
Mr. Orendorff married, April 1, 1847, Sarah Levina Hendrix, the daughter of John and Jane Hendrix, the first settlers within the limits of the present McLean County. The marriage was celebrated at the home of Mrs. Jane Hendrix, near where Mr. Orendorff now lives. They have had two children, one daughter and one son, both of whom are now living. They are:
Mrs. Mary Jane Cox, wife of William M. Cox, lives near the line between Bloomington and Randolph townships.
George Perry Orendorff lives at the homestead with his father.
Mr. Orendorff is five feet and ten and one-half inches high, is not heavily built, seems to enjoy a fair degree of health, and appears pretty muscular and well developed. He is very positive in his opinions, is a man of good sense, is very kind and sociable and ready to do a favor, thinks a great deal of old times and the old settlers, and is himself one of the best of them. He works hard, is careful and thrifty, and is blessed with a fair portion of the world's goods.
It will be seen from the sketches in this book that the Orendorff family has certain characteristics which are common to all of its members. They are all of them blessed with social and pleasant dispositions, and they all of them have that kindness of heart and genuine good feeling for which the early settlers were so distinguished.