Field Township is situated in the north tier of townships, and is bounded on the
north bv Marion County, on the east bv Farrington Township, on the south by Mount
Vernon Township, on the west by Rome Township, and is Congressionally known as
Township 1 south of the base line, and Range 3 east.of the Third Principal Meridian.
It is divided between woodland and prairie, the former predominating. The timber is
mostly oak and hickory, with a few other kinds common to this section of the country.
Casey's Fork of the Big Muddy is the principal stream, and flows south through the west
side of the township. Adam's Fork has its source in the northeast part and flows west-
wardly. These, with a few other small brooks, constitute the natural drainage.
Field Township has no railroads or manufactories, but is thoroughly an agricultural
region, and many prosperous farmers, whose well-kept farms are proof of their enterprise,
are found here.
The settlement of Field Township is of much more modern date than some other
portions of the county. Among the early settlers were the Fields, for whom the township
was named. Jeremiah Field, the patriarch of the family, came to Marion County in
1826. but never lived in this township. Several of his sons, however, came here, among
them Nathan. James and Henry Field. Thomas McCrary settled the farm now owned by
John Osborne, in Section 17. and was from Alabama. He died about 1877-78,
and left several children.
Thomas Jordan settled here very early. and lived near the line, in the prairie which
bears his name, and which lies in this and Rome Township. He kept a tavern on the
old Goshen road, and had a large family of children. The Jordans were among the
earliest settlers in this portion of the State, but they first located in Franklin County.
where they lived for some years and built a block house. They afterward scattered
out. and several of the name became settlers in different portions of Jefferson County.
Thomas locating in this township, as above. James Foster was an early settler, and
improved the place where John McConnell now lives. Mr. Maxwell and David Garrison
settled early; W. J. Garrison, a descendant, has always lived here. D. Easley settled
the place now occupied by Alfred Finn. John and Benjamin Hawkins came in about
1840,and settled in Section 8. They were good farmers, and came originally from
Indiana. Thomas Minor settled in the southeast part of the township prior to 1840,
and still lives there. W. D. Claybourn came about 1840. from Tennessee. and is still
here. Thus the township settled up. and the land was all entered and improved within
a comparatively short time from the first settlements.
Field Township, as we have said, was of more modern occupation than some of the
contiguous portions of the county, and hence the first settlers did not experience as great
trials as some of the first pioneers did. Mills had already sprung up in many localities,
and life was becoming quite easy to what it was when the first whites settled in the
county. It was not all flowers and sunshine here, however, for a number of years. The
people had their hardships and dangers, and enough of them. too. but they managed
to outlive them and to see peace and plenty around them.
The old Goshen road was one of the first highways through Field Township, but so
much has already been said of it that we will but make this reference to it here. As the
township settled up. other roads were opened to accommodate the increasing population,
and substantial bridges were built where they were needed. There are now some three
or four good bridges in the township.
An amusing incident is related of the early history of Field Township, which is
somewhat as follows: Thomas McCrary.who is mentioned as an early settler, was what
was termed in ihose days an Abolitionist. He used to burn charcoal for a blacksmith named
Storman. and the pit where he burned it was on big Muddy Creek. He burnt all the coal
Storman used for several years. Blacksmiths then used charcoal entirely in their shops.
Being an Abolitionist, McCrary. of course, kept a station on the underground railroad,
a line that trafficked between the Slave States and Canada, and was more or less ob-
noxious to his neighbors, according to their political sentiments. A man named Harmon
living just over in Rome Township, had boasted that if any negroes came about him
they would be roughly treated, etc. One day Andrew and William McCrary, two of Tom
McCrary's boys, blacked their faces at the charcoal pit and went to Harmon's. The
women were washing at the spring, and when they saw the "niggers." they ran to the
house for protection, very much frightened. The boys disappeared into the woods, and at
the first branch washed the black from their faces and then joined the immense crowd
that had turned out to hunt the "niggers," whom, we may add, they did not succeed in
finding. The joke was too good to keep, and the McCrary boys finally told it. This led
to a regular "Donnybrook fight" on the next election day. between the friends of Harmon
and the McCrarys.
The first schoolhouse in Field Township was built on Big Muddy on the McCrary
farm. It was a log cabin about sixteen feet square, and of the usual pioneer pattern,
with its slab seats, puncheon floor and oldtime fire-place. There are now in the
township six good, commodious schoolhouses. well furnished and well patronized
during the school terms.
Field Township is well supplied with churches, and if its citizens are not religions
it is for no lack of church facilities. Oak Grove Baptist Church, on Section 28, is a
neat and tasty frame building. New Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church, on or near
the line of Section 25, is a handsome frame edifice. Panther Fork Baptist Church, on
Section 11, is an excellent frame building. The Campbellites, or Christians, have a new
frame church on Section 18, near the line of Rome Township. Thus, as we have said, the
people do not lack for church facilities.
As a matter of some interest to our readers, we append the following list of township
officials since the adoption of township organization in 1869:
SupervisorsóJohn McConnell, 1870; John McConnell,1871; John Sprowle, 1873;
W. J Garrison, 1874: W. J. Garrison, 1875: W. F. McConnell, 1876: W. F. McConnell.
1877: John Hawkins, 1878; W. F. McConnell. 1870. W, J- Garrison, 1880:
W. J. Garrison. 1881; W. J. Garrison, 1882: W. J. Garrison, 1883, the present incumbent
Township ClerksóThomas Rollinson, 1872: Thomas Rollinson, 1873; B. R. Capenter, 1874:
Thomas Rollinson, 1875; Thomas Rollinson, 1876: L. Frazier, 1877; H. Hawkins. 1878;
Thomas Rollinson, 1879; E. McMeens, 1880: W. F. Simmons, 1881; W. F. Simmons. 1882;
W. D. Deane. 1883, now holding the office.
AssessorsóJ. V. Garrison. 1872; James Brown, 1873: T. B. Cady, 1874; J. M. Bennett. 1875;
B. J. Hawkins. 1876; B.J.Hawkins. 1877: E. H. Howard, 1878; E. H. Howard. 1879;
R. Raynor. 1880; R. Raynor. 1881; C. F. Hawkins, 1882: R. Raynor, 1883. now in office.
CollectorsóB. F. Wimberly, 1872; B. R. Carpenter, 1873: T. Rollinson, 1874;
J. F. Satterfield, 1875: J. F. Satterfield, 1876: J. G. Howard, 1877; J. G. Howard. 1878:
D. Thompson, 1879; James Brown, 1880; T. H. Wimberly. 1881: James Brown, 1882;
J. D. Simmons, 1883, now holding the position.
School Treasurers. óElias Howard, James Brown. T. H. Wimberly, J. A. Donahoo,
M. M. Howard. D. Price. W. F. McConnell. J. Sechrest, D. Price.
Highway CommissionersóJohn Hawkins, C. D. Frost, S. W. Maxey, John Hawkins,
W. J. Garrison. R. Smith, J. J. Williams, W. J. Hawkins. R. Padget, J. J. Williams,
J. J. Connoway, R. Pagdet, etc.
Justices of the PeaceóJohn Sprowle. Joseph Hawkins, J. T. Hutchinson, Joseph
Hawkins, J. G. Darnell, Joseph Hawkins, C. M Whitsen. J. G. Darnell, C. M. Whitsen,
ConstablesóWilliam Myers, F. C. Quick, T. H. Wimberley, J. J. Hawkins, H. P. Field,
M. Bradford, J. E. Gibson.
Field Township contains little to write about, except the mere fact of its settlement.
as it is without towns, without railroads and without manufactories. Its population is
devoted chiefly to farming and stock-raising, and axe an industrious and prosperous
people. One of the largest stock-raisers in the township is John McConnell, who devotes
his attention to horses, cattle and Cotswold sheep, of which he has some fine animals.
Others, also, devote more or less time and attention to stock, and every year stock-
raising, as a business, is increasing in interest.
Source: The History of Jefferson County, Illinois
by William Henry Perrin
Published by Globe Pub. Co. in 1883)
Submitted By: Cindy Ford