Shiloh Township lies west of Mount Vernon, south of Rome, east of Casner and
north of McClellan Townships, and is designated in the Congressional Survey
as Township 2 south, and Range 3 east. It is one of the finest agricultural regions
in the county, except Moore's Prairie, and many fine farms are to be found within
its limits. The surface is rolling, and even broken in some portions of the township,
and originally was mostly timbered land, on which grew in great abundance
several kinds of oak. hickory, elm. ash, locust (black and honey), sweet gum.
sassafras, papaw, etc., etc. It is watered and drained by the West Fork of Big
Muddy, formerly called Casey's Fork, Hooper's Creek, Cole's Creek, and several
smaller streams. An excellent stone quarry has been opened, and is owned by
Thomas Knott. It is pretty extensively worked, and affords a good building stone.
The principal crops are wheat, corn, oats,hay. potatoos and beans. Considerable
attention is paid to fruit, particularly apples. The St. Louis Division of the Louisville
& Nashville Railroad passes through Shiloh nearly from east to west, with Woodlawn
Station on its west line, a village of considerable business enterprise. The railroad
has been of great value to the township, increasing the price of lands and affording
excellent shipping facilities. The township received its name from old Shiloh Church.
The first white settler in what is now Shiloh Township is said to have been Zadok
Casey, who is so often mentioned and so extensively noticed in other chapters of this
volume, that nothing additional can be said here without repetition. He served his
country in the field as a soldier in the Black Hawk war, in the General Assembly of
the State, in the halls of Congress and as Lieutenant Governor, and better than all.
he served his fellow-men as a minister of the Cross of Christ. For almost half a century,
he served the people of Jefferson County, and at last laid down his life with the harness
on, for he was a member of the State Senate at the time of his death. But it was the
death of all deaths he would have chosen to die that at the post of duty. Calmly
he sleeps amid the scenes where his active life was spent. He sleeps, and his
mantle is folded about him with but little probability of its ever being disturbed by
his successors. He sleeps, and the billows of faction, which heave like the waves of a
stormy ocean, break not his deep repose more than the hail, the lightning, and the thunder
that fall around his tomb.
Gov. Casey. as elsewhere stated, came here in 1817, and made his first
settlement in what is now Shiloh Township. He was poor, and brought
his earthly all. which consisted of his wife, one child and a few articles of
household use. upon a single horse, himself walking most of the way. He
built a cabin, cleared a piece of ground, raised a small crop, and thus
began life, where he was destined to live long and serve his people faith,
fully. The history of his life-work is told in preceding chapters, and to
them the reader is referred.
William Maxey was another of the early settlers of this township, and like Gov.
Casey has been extensively written up in the preceding chapters. He came
from Sumner County. Tenn., but was a native of Viriginia. He settled here in
1818, and raised a large family of children, most of whom were born and
some of them married before he came to Illinois. His son Henry B. was
married while they lived in Tennessee and had one child an infant when
they came here. It died soon after their arrival, and is said to have been the
first death and burial of a white person in the county.
The Maxeys were a prolific family of people. William Maxey*s children were
Clarissa. Henry B., Bennett N., Elihu. Harriet Vylinda A.. Charles H.. Joshua C,
Hostillina. William M. A. and Jehu G. D. Of these Henry had twelve children:
Clarissa seventeen, Bennett thirteen. Elihu twelve (he was killed by a kick
from his horse). Harriet twelve. Vylinda seven. Charles thirteen, Joshua four.
William ten and Jehu one. William Maxey, the pioneer, had 101 grandchildren,
forty-four of whom are now living. He died in 1838: his wife, the year previous:
and in their death the county lost two good citizens and most exemplary Christians.
As they moved about in their daily walks, doing good to all, myriad spirits hovered
over them uttering the tones they had learned in heaven, and as the good old
couple drifted down the somber and mysterious pathway that leads to
the door of the tomb, all were faiu to acknowledge that the world was better for their
having lived in it. A lasting monument to their Christian piety is the fact that they
left every one of their ten living children professing the same Christian faith, and
zealous members of the Church of God. Their sons have been prominent citizens of the
county, some of them preachers, some physicians, some of them civil officers, and all
farmers to a greater or less extent. Joshua C, or "Canon Maxey" as more comonly
called, is living on the old homestead, a place settled originally in 1818, and which
has never been out of the possession of the Maxey family. Canon Maxey is a preacher
of the Methodist Church, and for nearly forty years he has been pointing the
unregenerate to that "far country" beyond the "River," where those who have gone
before are waiting to welcome them home.
William Depriest was an early settler in this township, and came in about 1821. He
settled where Joseph Philips now lives, and is long since dead. His wife was a
sister of Gov. Casey, and a remarkably large woman, weighing over 300 pounds.
She died a short time before her husband, and both sleep side by side at old
shiloh Church. They had two sonsóIsaac and Green, both of whom went to
Missouri, and, we believe, died there. Lewis Johnson came here in 1819, and
settled on Section 22. He had a large family, many of whom and their
descendants are still living in the county. A. Bateman.a son-in-law of
Lewis Johnson.came to the neighborhood with him. Archibald Harris also
came about the same time, and was from Kentucky. He had been a Baptist
preacher, but had backslidden if the Baptists ever do such things and
became a drunkard, and, as we have been informed, died intoxicated.
The Holtsclaws were early settlers, as will be seen by sketches elsewhere.
William Woods came here early (about 1819) and raised a large family,
of whom some are still living here. James E. Davis was also an early settler
in this township, and came from Wilson County, Tenn. He did not remain
long, but moved away. Lewis Green, the stepfather of Jesse A. Dees, was an
early settler in this township, but the people were now moving in so fast it
was impossible to keep trace of them.
There were plenty of Indians here when the iirst settlers came. The Maxeys
remember to have seen Indians passing their cabin in early times. A hundred
of the "red sons of the forest" passed there once in a body and camped within
a hundred yards of their house. They were friendly, and made no trouble nor
interrupted any one further than to call at the house and beg some salt and
meal. On the Gov. Casey farm (where Capt Moss now lives) the Indians used
to camp in numbers when hunting on Camp Branch, a tributary having its source
on this farm and empyting into Hooper's Creek For seven years after Gov. Casey
came here, the Indians camped upon this branch during their fall hunts.
The woods at that time were full of game, and the savages frequently came
into the neighborhood to hunt, but so far as we can learn never committed any
depredations after the murder of Moore in Moore's Prairie, and even that has
never been definitely settled; it has only been supposed that he was murdered
by Indians. As we have said, there was plenty of game here then, and some of
the Maxey boys, notably Bennett and Jehu were great hunters. Hundreds of deer
could be seen sometimes at a "single look," feeding on the prairie, as cattle
can now be seen: and as to wild turkeys, "the woods were full of them," and
the settlers had but little trouble in supplying their larders with meat. Indeed,
it was great fun for the most of them to lay in their winter's supply of meat, but
the procuring of bread was an altogether different thing. The first meal was
brought with the settlers from the older States, and afterward gotten at the
little horse mills put up in the new settlements, which were very rude in
their construction and very poor at best, but better than none at all. The first
mill in this township was built by William Maxey. It was a horse-mill of the
usual primitive kind, but was of great benefit to the community, and for
many years was their chief source of supply of breadstuff. A distillery
was kept by Abner Hill in a very early day, in the northwest part of the
township, but it is a landmark that has long since passed away. The old
wooden mold-board plows were the kind most in use by the early settlers.
J. C. Maxey used to stock these oldstyle plows, making the mold-boards
himself, and hence, next to the blacksmith who made the plows, was a
man in great demand among the farming population.
Joseph McMeens, one of the pioneers of this section, met with a sad bereavement
soon after his settlement A child, a little girl only four years old, was lost in the
woods and was never found, nor was her fate ever clearly established. Whether
she was devoured by wild beasts or carried off by prowling savages will
probably never be known.
Births, deaths and marriages are matters of great interest in new countries,
particularly among the female portion of the inhabitants. The first birth in
Shiloh Township cannot be recalled, but knowledge of the first death is
more easily attainable. All things earthly are fleeting and transitory,
even to the human beings who occupy this planet of ours. We look around
us at the landscape clothed with beauty, ornamented with flowers of the
fairest hae and rich with verdure. But yet a little while and winter
invades the beautiful fields and hills and valleys, and with a relentless
hand shrouds in gloom the gorgeous scenery. We behold the sky drawn
above us as a magnificent canopy, dyed in azure and beautiful with
pictures of floating silver; but as we gaze upon the beautiful scenery,
the world, awhile radiant with beauty, is mantled in darkness.
Man looks upon these changes in nature, and seems unconscious of
the fact that he too, is as perishable as they, and is heedless of the
warning voice that tells him " Dust thou art. and unto dust shalt
thou return." Journeying to the tomb, he wastes his price less time,
until finally death knocks at his door and finds him unprepared.
"And years may go.
But our tears shall flow
O'er the dead who have died." etc.. etc.
Death entered the settlement through the Maxey family, and an infant of Henry B.
Maxey was the victim. It was brought here an infant in arms, and survived the change
of climate but a short time It was the first death in the township, and believed also to
have been the first in the county. The well populated graveyards in the township and
surrounding country show how well death has done his work and how busy he has been
among the "children of men."
The third wedding to occur in the county took place in Shiloh Township, and was a
kind of wholesale wedding. Three couples were married at the same time and place,
viz., Thomas M. Casey and Harriet Maxey, Abraham T. Casey and Vylinda Maxey and
Bennett N. Maxey and Sally Overbey. The ceremony was performed October 5, 1819,
and the affair was a grand one for those early days. To use a backwoods expression,
"the big pot was put in the little one," the fatted calf (deer) was slain, a great
feast prepared, and everybody within reach invited. This triple wedding was long
remembered as an event worthy of note.
Shiloh Township is as well supplied with roads and bridges as any portion of Jefferson
County. Good wagon roads traverse it in every direction, and substantial bridges span
the streams wherever needed.
Previous to 1869, the county was divided into election precincts, but in that year, it,
under a law of the State, adopted township organization. Since the change, the
following is a list of the township officers:
Supervisorsó John R. Moss, 1870-71; J. C. Tyler, 1872; J. M. Galbraith, 1873-74;
W. C. Webb, 1875; V. G. Osborne, 1876; A. D. Dollins. 1877; G. L. Moss, 1878;
J. J. Willis, 1879; N. L. Frost, 1880; J. C. Tyler, 1881: Thomas C. Allen. 1882;
J. C. Tyler, 1883, the present incumbent.
Town ClerksóJohn T. Johnson, 1872; Sanford Hill, 1873; W. Greer, 1874;
J. D. McMeen, 1875: E. S. Dillon, 1876-77; N. H. Moss. 1878; W. A. Piercy,
1879 to 1881; L. Bond, 1882; W. A. Piercy, 1883, now in office.
AssessorsóJ. M. Galbraith, 1872; J. D. McMeen, 1873; W. T. Webb, 1874; O. A.
Dickerman. 1S75; J. N.Bond, 1876; J, H. Pavne. 1877; J. A. Reed, 1878; W. T.
Maxey. 1879-80; J. A. Reed. 1881-82; S. B. Gilbert, 1883. now in office.
Collectorsó W. C. Webb, 1872-73: J. C. Payne, 1874; Sanford Hill, 1875; W. C.
Webb, 1876; J. A. Reed, 1877; J. J. Willis, 1878; T. C. Allen, 1879-80:
Henry B. Walker, 1881 to 1883.
School TreasurersóJ. Payne, Sr., J. C. Maxey, T. C. Johnson, J. Henderson, T. C.
Allen, J. C. Tyler, C. C. Mayfield, J. T. Payne and R. H. Hubbard, the present
Highway CommissionersóR. H. Hubbard, C. B. Harper. W. B. Casey, J. M. Beckham.
C. B. Harper, T. Wę Beal, George Hill, J. M. Beckham, J. E. Ward, J. B. Pearcy,
J. R. Driver and J. E. Ward.
Justices of the PeaceóC. B. Harper. J. Q. A. Berry, J. R. Driver, C. M. Casey. J R.
Driver, J. DuBois. C M. Casey, J. DuBois. L. H. House and C. M. Casey.
ConstablesóSanford Hill, L. C. Johnson. A. J. Smith, L. C. Johns on, J. M.Galbraith
and S. B. Gilbert.
Considerable attention is paid to stockraising in this township, and that there is
not more than there is the more's the pity. When the farmers of this section of the
State devote more time and attention to stock and fruit and less to wheat a crop
that has proved so thoroughly to be an uncertain one it will be far better for them
and a good revenue will result. Capt. J. K. Moss and A. J. Moss are among the largest
stock-raisers in this immediate section. They raised horses. Durham and Jersey cattle.
Berkshirehogs and Cotswold sheepóthe latter were originally imported from Canada.
Capt. Moss was the first man who brought Cotswold sheep to the township and has
done more, perhaps, to improve the stock interests than any other man. Others have
more recently embarked in stock-raising, until at the present time it is getting to be
the leading pursuit of the farmers of this region.
The people took a deep interest in educational matters, and schools were organized
very early. Among the early teachers were Joel Pace. Edward Maxey. a man named
Douglas, E. Knapp, Anderson Booth and others. The old " Jefferson Academy " was
one of the first schoolhouses in the township. Shiloh has never let its interest flag in
the cause of education, and today it has nine comfortable schoolhouses within its limits,
all of which support good schools. Christianity occupied the minds of the people as
early as the cause of education. Some of the earliest settlers were ministers of the
Gospel notably Zadok Casey, of whom much has already been said. Abraham T. Casey
and Lewis Johnson were also preachers, as well as some of the Maxeys. These were all
ministers of the .Methodist Church, and several societies of this denomination were
formed very early. Old Union Church in Mount Vernon Township, was the first.
Pleasant Grove Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1839 in the schoolhouse,
and the first preacher was the Rev. W. T. Williams. Among the early members were
Thomas M. Casey and family, Abraham T. Casey and family, Bennett N. Maxet and
EIihu Maxey and their families and others. The present church building was put up some
twenty-live years ago, and is of-brick. 30x40 feet in size, costing about $2,000. It has
some eighty members. There is at present a Baptist Church in the northwest corner of
the township called New Hope Church. Old Shiloh Methodist Episcopal Church was
one of the first churches organized in the township. Among the early members were
Lewis Johnson. Zadok Casey, William and Edward Maxey, Mr. Depriest and their
families. Their early meetings were held in a house put up for church and school
purposes in 1821, and was given the name of Old Shiloh. For years it was used
both for church and school purposes, but has long since passed away. The New
Shiloh Church was an early organization. The present church building was put up
in 1858; the membership is about seventy-five; the present minister Rev. L. S. Walker.
The church maintains a Sunday school with some seventy-five pupils and five teachers.
Little Grove Church was organized in 1833, near James Westcott's, who gave the land
upon which it stood. Salem Church was also an early organization, and its origin was
due principally to Rhodam Allen, who was a zealous Christian, and took great interest
in religious affairs.
Woodlawn Village was laid out by John D. Williams for S. K. Casey and W. D. Green,
and tbe plat recorded October 1. 1869. It is located on the range line in Section 25,
and is on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, west of Mount Vernon, and has about 300
inhabitants. The first house was built by Hiram Ferguson. Among the first merchants
of the place were Benton, Masters, J. Q. A. Bay and Dubois. James Farmer put up a
fine mill in 1872, and Hicks put up a drug store. The post office was established in
1870. and Dr. Masters was appointed Postmaster; the present Postmaster is G. B.
Welborn. An excellent school building is in the town. It is a frame, 24x36 feet, and
the school attendance is about sixty. A lodge of Odd Fellows was organized in 1874.
The present officers are J. T. Slade. N. G. J. F. Brooks, V. G.: L. H. Hawes,
Treasurer; and G. W. Fyke. Secretary. In 1878. James Dillon put up an oil factory in
a part of Farmers Mill, and for several years carried on the business. It was said at the time
to be the biggest thing of the kind in the whole country. Pennyroyal and sassafras
came in by the hundreds of wagon-loads and was made into oil.
The following is the business outlook: Payne & Sharp, Smith & Capp. general
stores: George B. Welborn, drug store; John A. Leltield, groceries; Mrs. E. P.
Revnolds, millinery; R. Richie, blacksmith, etc. The village was incorporated
under the State law in 1880, with the following officers: Dr. Watson, President;
Emery Wood, James Trout, Harvey Reynolds, J. W. Beckham, J. H. Hicks; and
W. P. Willis. Clerk. The present officers are J. H. Hicks, President; J. H. Clayborne,
J. P. Morgan, W. H. Breeze, Andrew Ferguson and L. A. Stevens.
The Methodist Church was organized in the township in the Hicks Schoolhouse,
and among the original members were Isaac Hicks and wife, Benjamin McKinney
and wife. Peter Shaffer and wife, George Knox and his mother, John Lemmon and
wife, and others. The church was built in the village in 1879, and cost about
$1,200. The society has some forty members and a good Sunday school is
kept up all the year.
Source: The History of Jefferson County, Illinois
by William Henry Perrin
Published by Globe Pub. Co. in 1883)
Submitted By: Cindy Ford