THE OLD SETTLERS ASSOCIATION
OF GREENE COUNTY ILLINOIS
HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY, published in 1879 by Donnelly, Gassette & Loyd, Chicago
Pages 312 - 316
THE OLD SETTLERS ASSOCIATION
In the issue of the Carrollton Gazette, for September 30, 1871, the following invitation was published:
"OLD SETTLERS' MEETING. - As the matter has been so often spoken of in the papers, and by a large number of the old settlers of Greene County, and it would seem appropriate that such a meeting should be held on my farm, a cordial invitation is hereby extended to all citizens who were residents of the county before the "deep snow", to assemble in the grove one quarter of a mile south of my residence it being on the south end of the first eighty acres of land settled in this county), on Saturday, October 21, 1871 at ten o'clock A. M. The object of the meeting will be to organize an 'Old Settlers Association' for Greene County, and to listen to the addresses appropriate for the occasion. Should the weather prove unfavorable for an out-door meeting at the time, I am requested to say that the meeting will be held at the court house, in Carrollton, instead of the grove on my premises. As this matter has now been so generally agreed upon by our old citizens, it is expected that a large and interesting meeting will be held, and that all will give special heed to this first meeting of the old settlers. Respectfully,
The 21st of October was a bright, pleasant day, and about one hundred and fifty old settlers, together with a large concourse of younger persons, assembled in the beautiful Thomas Grove, southwest of Carrollton. This wood is located on the south end of the first eighty acres of land entered by Mr. Thomas in 1818, and selected as a squatter's claim some time previous. At about eleven o'clock the Carrollton Cornet Band played an old time selection, and the company was called to order by David Pierson, Esq. Col. Jacob Bowman was chosen chairman, and on taking the chair, invited Rev. C. J. Gardiner to offer prayer. "This venerable and reverend gentleman kneeled upon the grass and leaves in the front of the speaker's land, and while the many aged heads were bowed, a solemnity was manifested befitting the occasion and words appropriately impressive were uttered, invoking the blessing of God upon those whose lives had been so long spared in his mercy, and beseeching a continuance of divine favor. The chair then suggested that the appointment of a committee on permanent organization would in order. Whereupon Messrs. David Pierson, Thomas Black, C. J. Gardiner, Jordan Howard, A. Hinton, Peter Hobson, Isham Linder, and Martin Bowman were selected as a committee on resolutions. At this point, the chairman, than whom there is none more skilled in the management of a dinner party, remarked that the committees would need some little time in which to prepare their reports - that the good wives and daughters were present with bountifully ladened baskets - that the hour had arrived and the tables would be spread upon the green, and, while the band struck up another good old tune, the meeting adjourned for dinner." The dinner was bountiful in quantity, dainty in preparation, and the best in quality, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. After an intermission of an hour, the band rendered another selection, whereupon Col. Bowman called the meeting to order, and asked for the report of the committee on permanent organization. David Pierson, Esq., chairman, presented the following:
Your committee would respectfully recommend -
1. That a society be formed to be denominated "Old Settlers Society of Greene County."
2. That the officers consist of a President, ten Vice Presidents, a Secretary, and a Treasurer.
3. That the following person be chosen as such officers: President, Capt. Richard Robley, of Bluffdale; Vice Presidents, Samuel Thomas, Judge Alfred Hinton, Gen.
Jacob Fry, Maj. J. C. C. Parks, Anthony Potts, Peter Hobson, Martin Bowman, Rev. C. J. Gardiner, Judge Thomas J. Short, David Pierson; Secretary, H. L. clay; Treasurer, Col. Jacob Bowman
Remarks, consisting, in the main, of interesting personal reminiscences, by Samuel Thomas, Judge Alfred Hinton, Maj. J. C.C. Parks, Gen. Jacob Fry, Hon. D. M. Woodson, and others, followed, and occupied the time until quite late. In the course of some general remarks, by Judge Isham Linder, Judge Hinton, Thomas Black, Jonas Ward, David Pierson, and others, it was ascertained that Mr. Marvel Morris and Judge Linder had been residents of the State longer than any one else present, the former for sixty-two and the latter for sixty-one years. Capt. Richard Robly was the oldest man present, he having been born in 1790.
On the Eleventh of November, at a meeting held in the court house at Carrollton, as per the resolution passed at the first meeting, Messrs. D. M. Woodson, Isham Linder, Dr. J. B. Samuel, Alfred Hinton, and T. W. Vigus was appointed a committee to draft a constitution and by-laws for the organization. The meeting then adjourned to meet to hear the report of this committee January 8, 1872, at which time the following constitution was adopted:
"The subscribers, pioneers and early residents of Illinois, acknowledging their obligations to Almighty God for his long-continued good in the preservation of their lives, and for the numberless blessings bestowed upon this county and its inhabitants, and being desirous for the promotion of social intercourse, by meeting together at convenient periods, to compare notes and preserve and perpetuate the remembrance of interesting facts in the early history and settlement of our State, and of Greene County particularly, have formed themselves into a society, to be known and designated as the "Greene County Old Settler's Association," and for the purpose of furthering the objects of such association, do adopt and subscribe the following:
"ARTICLE I.- This society shall be called the "Greene County Old Settlers' Association", and shall consist,
First - Of all persons, who, at any time prior to the year 1830, were residents of Illinois, and such persons, upon signing the constitution shall be designated as Senior members.
"Second - All person, residents of Illinois, who shall have resided in the County of Greene since 1845. Such persons, upon signing the constitution, shall be designated as Junior members. The rights, privileges and immunities of the Senior and Junior Classes shall be held in common, without distinction or preference.
"Third - Honorary members, who may be received by vote at any regular meeting of the association.
"ART.II.- The officers of the association shall be a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, and Treasurer, to be chosen annually, and whose duties are indicated by their titles. Also one Vice-President in each precinct in the county, whose duty it shall be to aid the other officers of the association in obtaining historical incidents, and also to ascertain, and report to the Secretary from time to time, all the deaths or removals from the county of members of the association, that may occur in their several precincts during the year.
"ART.III - This association shall hold its annual meeting at some convenient place in the county, to be selected by the President of the association, on the last Wednesday of August in each year. The President and Secretary shall have power to call special meetings of the association.
"ART.IV. - Every member of the association, on signing the constitution, shall furnish the Secretary, either orally or in writing, a statement, giving the time and place of his birth, the year in which he became a resident of Illinois and of Greene County, and shall pay to the Treasurer the sum of fifty cents, and annually thereafter the sum of fifty cents, which shall constitute membership for himself and wife. The money thus paid shall be used to defray the contingent expenses of the association, and for no other purpose.
"ART.V.-The Treasurer shall report, at each annual meeting, a statement of all receipts and expenditures, and no moneys shall be paid out by him, except by vote of the association, or by the unanimous consent of the President, Vice-President, and Secretary, who are hereby constituted the executive committee of the association.
"ART.VI.-The association, by a vote of a majority present at a regular meeting, may expel any member for habitual intoxication or grossly immoral conduct.
"ART.VII.-It shall be the duty of each member of the association, as far as may be, to furnish, in a form suitable for preservation, such facts and incidents of this early life, and in relation to the first settlement of the county, as he may deem of sufficient interest to be preserved; and the Secretary shall preserve them in such form as he may deem proper.
"ART.VIII.-The Secretary shall keep a book, to be called the 'Old Settlers' Record,' in which he shall enter this constitution, and the proceedings of each meeting of the association; he shall also keep a register of the names of the different members, the place of their birth, the year they became residents of Illinois, as far as he can ascertain the same, and at each annual meeting he shall read the names of those who have died, or who have removed from the county during the year.
"ART.IX.-This constitution may be amended at any regular meeting of the association. A vote of two thirds of the members present at such meeting shall be required in favor of the amendment."
The election which followed resulted in the choice of the following officers: President, Samuel Thomas; Vice-President, Alfred Hinton; Secretary, H. L. Clay; Assistant Secretary, Dr. C. Armstrong; Treasurer, Jordan Howard; Precinct Vice-Presidents, John W. Huitt, Carrollton; James W. Gregory, White Hall; Isham Linder, Greenfield; N. M Perry, Kane; John Roodhouse, Roodhouse; Martin Thorpe, Fayette; Richard Robley, Bluffdale; George L. Burruss, Eastern; Jesse C. Parks, Mt. Airy; L. J. Patterson, Northwestern; Perry McConathy, Mineral Springs; Perry Clendennen, Woodville; Michael Kinser, Walkerville; Michael Waltrip, New Providence.
The second regular meeting of the association was held on the Fair Grounds, and was addressed by Hon. D. M. Woodson, Mr. Dennis Davis, of Missouri, Judge Cyrus Tolman and others. In 1873 addresses were made by Rev. H. A. Guild, Col. J. C. Winters, Everett Griswold, and others.
The meeting of 1874 was one of the most interesting in the history of the association. The gathering was the largest of the kind every held in the county. Dr. S. H. Culver, of White Hall, Dr. B. C. Wood, of Carrollton, Hon. Newton Cloud, of Morgan County, and Hon. D. M. Woodson of Carrollton, made addresses. Music was furnished by a volunteer choir.
The death of Samuel Thomas, Heman Goodrich, Titus Vigus, Jesse C. C. Parks and Everett Griswold was spoken of and appropriate resolutions passed. In 1875 about 3, 500 persons attended the annual meeting at the Fair Grounds. Hon. W. C. Flagg, of Madison County, Rev. B. B. Hamilton, of White Hall, and Hon. Joseph Morton, of Morgan County, were the speakers of the day. The death of Dr. J. B. Samuel was reported. We make the following extract from the minutes of the Secretary:
"The special committee appointed for the purpose reported the names of the following persons present who were seventy years of age and over:
"Ninety and over.-Edward Flatt, 96; Squire Kincaid, 90; Mrs. Medusa Piper, 90.
"Eighty and over.-Capt. Richard Robley, 84; Benj. Drummond, 83; John W. Huitt, 84; John Painter, 82; Cyrus Tolman, 82; Mrs. Dr. B. C. Wood, 80; Daniel Kirby, 80.
"Seventy and over.-Capt.Wm. B. Pegram, 79; Amos McPheron, 79; John Wagoner, 79; Dr. B. C. Wood, 78; Mrs. Capt. W. B. Pegram, 77; Anthony P. Potts, 76; Mrs Julia Brace, 76; Andrew Kelly, 76; Jonas Wward, 75; Capt. E. L. Cooper, 75; Joseph Morton, 75; Alfred Hinton, 75; Gen. Jacob Fry, 75; Nathaniel Miner, 74; Wm. Kennedy, 74; R. R. Nichols, 74; Christopher Dodgson, 73; Isham Linder, 73; Abraham Bowman, 73; J. H. Weissner, 72; Martin Bowman, 71; William Thompson, 72; John V. Dee, 71; Philip Gore, 70; Newton Coud, 70; David Pierson, 70; Mrs. Matilda Robley, L. D. Morris, Mrs. Gen. Fry, Daniel Nail, J. E. Cooper, Enos Grandy, Wm. Parker, Wm. B. Pankey, Archibald Lee, Dr. G. B. Mason, John Benear, Rev. G. W. Reynolds, George Liles, Edward Prather, Maria Prather, Andrew Pinkerton, Eliza Nutting; Naomi Edwards, Benj. Smith and Mrs. E. M. Smith.
****Edward Flatt, 96, was the oldest man present and is probably the oldest man in Greene County. Mrs. Scates, of Carrollton, is reported at 114 years of age, and is likely the oldest person in the State."
In 1876 the annual address was delivered by Rev. B. B. Hamilton, of White Hall. On this occasion a handsome bouquet was presented the venerable John W. Huitt, on behalf of a lady present, in honor of the fact that he was the first man to settle in Greene County now living. Rev. Mr. Hamilton also favored the association with an address on the occasion of its sixth annual reunion, in 1877. On this occasion the deaths of the following old settlers was noticed: Anthony Potts, aged 78 years; Edward Flatt, 89; David M. Woodson, 71; Wm. C. Rainey, 79; William Webb, 85; Mrs. David Wooley, 81; Mrs. Mary Ann Waltrip, 52; Mrs. Elizabeth Pinckard, 80, and James Hall.
Major N. M. Knapp, of Winchester, addressed the society in 1878.
The obituary record for the year included the names of Mrs. Elizabeth Vosseller, age 69; Mrs. Sarah Gregory, 45; J. W. Gregory, 49; Joseph Cox, 77; Mrs. Sarah Crist, 56; Sarah Waltrip, 72; Wm. Griffin, 73.
Since the death of Samuel Thomas, Judge Alfred Hinton has held the office of President of the association. Dr. C. A. Armstrong, H. L. Clay and Ed. Miner have been the only Secretaries. The Old Settlers' meetings are, to a large portion of the better class of citizens of the county, one of the most interesting occasions of the year. Next to the fair, nothing draws together a larger number of the substantial people of the county, and the exercises do much to remind the rising generation of the hardships their parents suffered and of the gratitude and honor due the aged.
The following list of those who came to this county very early is not offered as being complete or nearly so. Neither do the dates profess absolute accuracy. They are simply some of thenames I have come across with the dates I have found attached to them.
LIST OF EARLY SETTLERS IN GREENE COUNTY
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