FARRINGTON TOWNSHIP — GENERAL TOPOGRAPHY, BOUNDARIES, ETC-— SETTLEMENT OF WHITE
PEOPLE — EARLY INDUSTRIES — SCHOOLS AND CHURCHES — TOWNSHIP
OFFICERS — VILLAGES — STOCK-RAISING, ETC.
IN the early history of Jefferson County', people were not farmers, but hunters.
They would " squat" on a piece of land, put up a rough cabin, and some of them
cleared a little " truck patch," which was mostly cultivated bv their wives and children.
But in a few years the real farmers began to come in, and then hunters began to
get ready to pull up stakes and "move on" go West, where the crowding civilization and
settlements would not trouble them or disturb the game they were wont to chase. Of the
hunter class were those whose necessity, in the chase and in protecting their pigs and
chickens from the hungrv wolves and other wild beasts, required the services of the dog,
and hence always a goodly portion of many families were made up of " mongrel, puppy,
whelp and hound, and cur of low degree." But most unfortunately, with the disappearance
of the simple trappers and hunters, the dogs "did not go," but remained in unlimited
numbers for many years after their usefulness had ceased, and even now they may
be seen plentifully in some places. They are one of the relics of barbarism that linger
"alone, all alone." And just here we may add for it is a fact beyond dispute that
one of the greatest misfortunes to Southern Illinois has been its large number of worthless,
sheep-killing dogs. These perpetual pests have cost every county thousands of
dollars for every 5 cent piece they have saved them. If there never had been a dog here
there would now be large flocks of sheep raised where there is not one to be seen.
And yet the farmers will persist in keeping a lot of mangy dogs, and for what purpose?
None under heaven, but. because it is the custom to have dogs to, to--to prey on
their neighbors' sheep. Verily, I say unto you, one sheep is of more value than ninety
and nine worthless dogs. Selah!
Farrington Township, to which this chapter is devoted, comprises the northeast corner of
the township. Marion County lies on the north, Wayne County on the east, Webber Township
on the south and Field Township on the west Farrington, according to the Government survey,
is Township 1 south of the base line, and in Range 4 east, of the Third Principal Meridian.
It is divided between prairie and woodland, and is of very good surface, unless it be along
the little streams, when it becomes somewhat hilly in places. The principal water-course
Is Adams Fork, which flows in a southeast direction, then leaving the township through
Section 36. Adam's Fork, with a few nameless branches, comprises the natural drainage system
of Farrington. The timber is that mentioned as growing in other portions of the county. The
inhabitants are an industrious and intelligent class of people, and are devoted mostly to
farming and stock raising.
Following close in the wake of the hunters and trappers cane the regular settlers. Their
privations, though settlements here were not made as early as in other sections of the
county, were such as only brave hearts could endure. Nothing but the hopeful inspiration
of manifest destiny urged them to persevere in bringing under the dominion of civilized
man what was before them a wild and tangled wilderness. Just who was the iirst settler
in what is now Farrington Township we cannot say, as settlements were made in many
adjoining neighborhoods before this, and it is not easy to say just when the first man
stepped over into Farrington and pitched his tent. But among the first settlers were the
Wellses, the Gregorys, Haynies, Abraham Buffington. William B. Johnson. Joseph Norman
and others. Berryman and Barney Wells were, perhaps, the first of these; at least, they
were here when the Gregorys came. They were from Tennessee, and Berryman Wells settled on
Section 14, Barney or. Section 8; they have long been dead, but have descendants living
in the county. Of the Gregorys, there were Jonathan and Benjamin, who came here about
1828-30, and Absalom Gregory, a brother, came some two years later. They were all
Kentuckians. and settled. Jonathan on Section 23. BenJamin on Section 24 and Absalom
on Section 26. They are dead, but still have descendants living, among whom is
Dr. L. B. Gregory, the Postmaster General of Logansville. and the model farmer of the
township, whose barn is a pattern for all to follow after. The Doctor is quite a stock-raiser,
and the extreme docility of his stock, particularly his domestic animals, show the great
care and attention they receive from their owner. We have been there, and witnessed that
where of we speak. Dr. Gregory owns some 1,400 or 1,500 acres of as good land as may be found
in Farrington Township. He is one of the self-made men of the country, and deserves great
credit for what he is. He began life, as he informed us, without a dime, and what he is he is
indebted to no one for but himself. His own energy and indomitable will has wrought for him a
fortune, which speaks well for the Doctor, and we may add for no one else. His mind is well stored
with incidents of the early history of the county, many of which he regaled us with. He came
here but a lad, and his busy life has extended through all the hard times, the trials and
hardships to which the early settlers were subjected. He delights to tell of the time when he
collected nearly the entire revenue of the county in coon skins and deerskins, which were a
legal tender. John Allen was then Sheriff; the season had been a hard one; people had but
small crops; but few had made enough to live on, and as to money, that was an unknown quantity.
In this state of affairs, Sheriff Allen employed Dr. Gregory to collect the county taxes.
Gregory says every farmer in those days, who could raise $ 8 or $10, would buy a barrel of
whisky to sell again (license to sell whisky did not then cost as much as now), and as there
was no money they would take coon skins for whisky Hence, nearly every man had a large number
of coon skins on hand and there were nearly all these whisky sellers who were able to pay
their taxes. So he collected the biggest part of the taxes in coon skins and deer skins.
Francis, William and James Haynie came about the same time the Gregorys came.
Francis Haynie settled on Section 26. James on Section 24, and William on Section 23.
They, too, came from Tennessee, and are dead. Francis was an old Revolutionary soldier.
Mr. Johnson says: "Mr. Haynie never had any permanent home after the death of his wife.
He came to his relatives here; staid sometimes for months: but it was said that he came
and went with the wild geese. Many of our people remember him as he passed among us
many years ago. with the same old hat. the same long hunting shirt closely belted around
him. and the same walking stick, at least five feet long, grasped a foot or so from the end.
The old man's last visit here was in 1888. He spent most of the last years of his life at
his son's,north of here." William Haynie moved West and died somewhere out there. Joseph Norman
came here from Tennessee, and settled in the same neighborhood as the Haynies. Abram Buffington
settled near Farrington. He was a noted hunter, and used to kill a great deal of game. William B.
Johnson was also an early settler in this part of the township. He has a son. John W. Johnson,
living just west of Farrington, one of the prosperous farmers of the county and withal an
enterprising citizen. William Casey also lived in this township for some years in the early
times, and may be reckoned among the pioneers.
Such were some of the leading men who gathered here. It is difficult in most cases to distinguish
marks of individuality in the smaller settlements of a county, especially where all are derived from
the same general section. But in the early community of Farrington, there was less of this difficulty
in the way. A majority, in fact nearly all of the early settlers here were from Tennessee and Kentucky,
and came here for the purpose of making permanent homes. They were men possessing little literary taste.
The rugged experience of frontier life and the isolation from the closer restraints of older civilization
has a tendency to unduly elevate the importance of brawn and muscle in the general consideration, and
brawling and carousing are tolerated to a much greater extent than where there are gentler influences
to counteract such tendencies. This rough element predominated in many portions of the county among
the early settlers. It was no worse in Farrington than elsewhere perhaps it was no better. The
prevailing custom of the nation had educated the church of the early day to see no harm in the
general use of whisky, and it may not be said that the members were free from intoxication. As year
by year the inevitable result of the practice was foreshadowed, they had not the moral courage to
reject it. Brawling disputes were common, and the general sentiment was not very favorable to
intellectual progress. But all this has changed now, and Farrington Township is noted throughout
the county at the present day for its intelligence, civilization and refinement The usual pioneer
improvements of Farrington consisted of the rude mills of the early settlers, and the making of roads.
The first road through the township was the Mount Vernon & Maysville road, and the next the road
leading from Mount Vernon to Xenia. The township now is blest with as good roads as any other
portion of the county, and good, substantial bridges span the streams where the principal
roads cross them.
As to the educational and religious facilities, not as much can be said as in some other localities
Church edifices are not plentiful, and most of the schoolhouses are a little dilapidated, though there
are some new ones and some that are used for church as well as school purposes.
Dr. Gregory says the first teacher be went to school was a Mr. Joseph Price, and he thinks it was the
first school in the township. The Doctor's description of that school and schoolhouse and his attendance
at it is quite humorous. The house, he says, was a pole cabin about sixteen feet square, slab seats and
without any floor except the ground. The fire was built in the middle of the room, and around this
"council fire" the pioneer boys and girls attained the wisdom and inspiration to fit them for after life.
Dr. Gregory says he wore buckskin breeches and buckskin hunting-shirt, and on his way to school of
a morning through the rain and snow, his breeches, which were not very well tanned, would get wet and
stretch out until they would be down under his feet. But.sitting around that log-heap fire in that old
school house, they would get dry and draw up until they were nearly to his knees, thus displaying his
"shapely shins,"* which had stood exposure to the elements until they were about like young scaley-barked
The next school teacher after Price was probably Absalom Gregory, an uncle of the present Dr. Gregory,
alluded to above. He was followed by Elder R. T. Camp, a Baptist preacher, who. notwithstanding his holy
calling, was as illiterate and unlearned as the fishermen of Gallilee. William Johnson was also an early
teacher. Another of the early schoolhouses was built on Horse Creek. It was also a rude log cabin. The next
schoolhouse in this portion of the township was built at Farrington. There are now six schoolhouses in
the township; some of them good, substantial buildings and some of them badly needed to be replaced
with new and better ones. Farrington Township is Democratic in politics. It is not as great a Democratic
stronghold as it used to be, mainly through the infiuence of that old Republican wheel-horse. Dr. Gregory,
who says he intends to make it Republican yet if he lives long enough. According to the late Ohio
election, he has an army contract on hand. In 1869. Farrington was made a township. Since then, the
following is a list of the township officials:
Supervisors—M. A. Morrison, 1870—72; L..B. Gregory, 1878; L. B. Donohoo, 1874;
L.. B. Gregory, 1875; W. L. Young. 1876-78; L. B. Gregory, 1879; J. W. Johnson, 1880;
L. B. Gregory, 1881; J. W. Johnson, 1882; L. D. Gregory, 1883.
Township Clerks— J. W. Johnson, 1872; John Pierce, 1873; M. A. Morrison, 1874;
John Pierce, 1875-80; J. Burke, 1881; J. Young, 1882; Chaless Burke, 1833.
Assessors—W. L. Young. 1872-74; P. M.Harvey, 1875; M. A. Morrison, 1876-77;
William Summers, 1875; W. L.. Young, 1879; S. C. Clark, 1880; W. L. Young. 1881;
W. L. Young, 1882; J. B. Young. 1833.
Collectors—L. B. Gregory, 1872; J. P. Clark, 1873-74; W. L. Young, 1875;
J. D. Alton, 1876; G. W. French, 1877; Charles Burke, 1878; C. S. Burke, 1879-80:
J. Williams, 1881-83.
School Treasurers—M. A. Morrison, 1874; W. L. Young, 1875; S. Brooknian. 1876-77
W. L. Young. 1878; W. E. Wilson, 1879; W. L. Young, I880; W. D. Morrison, 1881;
R French, 1882; J. McCormaughty, 1883.
Highway Commissioners—L. Buffington, J Bradly, Pinckney Green. J. Bradly, S.Greenwalt,
S. M Burns, James Norman, B. Sledge, J. Cooper, J. Sumner, William T. Fry and W. Wilson.
Justices of the Peace—J, W. Johnson, Isaac Dodds. Pinckney Green and J. Bradly.
Constables—Robert French, F. M. Haynie, W. R. Donohoo. John R. Webb, M Redburn,
J. R. Cameron, J. Norman and C. Donohoo.
The village of Farrington was laid out June 2, 1856. and was surveyed by A. M. Grant
for Jehu J. Maxey. It comprised six acres of ground adjoining Mr. Johnson's place, and
there wers two blocks of five lots each and two of eight lots each. Maxey & Johnson
built a store-house, the first house erected after the town was laid out. George Lear came
next and then Abram Casey, and after him Kirk & Underwood. The nest comer to the new town
was, perhaps. Dr. Bradford; Dr. Johnson also built a house in the town. When the latter left
the place. Munsell came; then Bradford and Ingalls. John Bagwell had a shop some distance
from Farrington, but afterward put up one in town, and he and Perry Maxey worked in it. About
the beginning of the war. King Maxey put up a mill just south of town. He sold it to a Mr.
Powers in 1862, and after the close of the war William Summers came home from the
army and bought an interest in it; some four years later it was sold to a man named
Snow, and moved to Walnut Hill. W. A. Dale came soon after the town was laid out,
and started a tanyard. which was carried on a number of years. April 15, 1857, an
addition to Farrington was laid off by Johnson & Collins, which was surveyed by Ambrose
Meador. A schoolhouse was built and a few years later an excellent church was put up,
which was blown down in a storm a few years afterward. Farrington is in a beautiful place for
a town, but it seems to have reached the zenith of its glory, and now to be on the downward
road to the " vale of obscurity. " A town of 2,000 or 3,000 inhabitants could be built here upon
as pretty a location as ever a town stood on.
Logansville, a little northeast of Farrington, consists of the post office of that name and a small
store kept by Dr. Gregory. He commenced selling goods here some fifteen or twenty years ago, and
about the same time, through the influence of Gen. John A. Logan, then in the United States
Senate, he got a post office, and honored the "swarthy Senator" by giving it his name.
Although rejoicing under the high sounding name of Logansville, there is no town, nor has there
been a town laid out here.
At the present time tnere is no church building standing in the township; Mount Zion Baptist Church
was burned a few years ago and has never been rebuilt. A church was erected in the northeast part
of the township, but was never finished, and, as already stated, the church in Farrington was
blown down in a storm a few years ago. So now the township is dependent upon the
schoolhouses in order to hold religious service.
Farrington Township is an excellent farming region. Corn, oats, rye and wheat are produced in
large quantities, and also fruits and vegetables. Many farmers, too, have gone into stock-raising.
Dr. Gregory and Mr Bradford are, perhaps, the most extensive raisers and dealers in the township.
But others are beginning to pay more or less attention to the business, and doubtless in a
few years Farrington will become quite a stock-producing community.
Source: The History of Jefferson County, Illinois
by William Henry Perrin
Published by Globe Pub. Co. in 1883)
Submitted By: Roy K. Braddy