HISTORY
OF
MENARD & MASON COUNTIES, ILLINOIS
1879

Chicago: O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers
186 Dearborn Street
Chicago

THE EARLY SETTLEMENT

Transcribed by: Ellen Booth.

Although the youngest precinct in Menard County, white people were within the present limits of Greenview as long ago as 1828. Fifty-six years stand between then and now, and, in that period, what changes have been wrought, not only in this spot but throughout the world. Ancient palaces, in whose spacious halls the mightiest monarchs proudly trod, show “the ivy clinging to their moldering walls.” Thrones, tottering, have crumbled into dust; empires have fallen, and their place on the map been blotted out forever. In our own great country, the war of revolution has raged with a tornado-like fury, shaking the republic from its center to its circumference, and threatening for a time in total destruction. Four millions of human beings have been liberated from a worse then Egyptian bondage, and placed upon an equality with the enlightened citizens of the “greatest county upon which the sun ever shown,” together with hundreds of other mighty events beyond our limited space to chronicle. And in these fifty-six years the territory of Greenview Precinct, one of the small particles that go to make up our great county, has, from a wilderness, been metamorphosed into a paradise as compared to its original state. In the year above mentioned (1823), James Meadows settled in the present limits of Greenview on the place now owned by Mr. Marbold. He came from Ohio to the neighborhood of Alton in 1818, the year that Illinois was admitted into the sisterhood of States. The next year, he removed to what is now Sugar Grove Precinct, where he resided until 1828, when he removed into this precinct as already stated. A son of this early pioneer, Alexander Meadows, now lives in the village of Greenview, and has an excellent recollection of early scenes and events. He came to Illinois sixty-one years ago, a mere boy; now he is an old man, broken down in bodily health by a life of toil. The history of this family is more particularly given in Sugar Grove, where they first settled after coming to the county. The elder Meadows built a mill on the Marbold place, which was the second mill in the eastern part of Menard County, and is again alluded to in another page. Soon after the settlement of Meadows in this precinct, George Blane and his mother came here. Like Meadows, they first settled on the other side of Sugar Grove, but sold out there to Leonard Alkire in 1823. They are mentioned further in the history of Sugar Grove Precinct, where they first located.

Most of the first batch of settlers in this precinct were Buckeyes, and settled in Irish Grove, a body of timber already mentioned in this chapter. From Ohio, the native State of the chief magistrate of the nation, the precinct received the following recruits, viz., Joseph Lucas, George Borders, John Martin, George and Peter Price, John Waldron and John Hamill. Lucas squatted down in the grove about 1825-26. He was a genuine frontiersman, and remained in this community no longer than game abounded. When that failed and the Indians left the country, he followed in the wake of the red men and died a few years later in the Mackinaw settlement. The next settlers found his cabin, with three acres of ground cleared around it and fenced. He had two sons, Peter and George, who settled in Logan County; the latter is still living, but Peter died there some years ago. Abraham, another son, settled near his father in Irish Grove, where he died at an early day. Borders and Martin came in 1827. The former died about 1872, on the place where he originally settled, and the family is nearly extinct. One daughter was living in Logan County at the last account of her, and is the only surviving member of the Borders family, so far as known. Martin remained here a few years and then moved to Logan County, where he died. His son Samuel, living in the city of Lincoln, is the last survivor of this family, so far as the pioneers of this section know to the contrary. George Price came to the grove in 1826, and his brother, Peter Price, in 1829. They were of the regular frontier type and followed the Indians and the game, as they meandered on toward the setting sun. William Walker bought Peter Price’s claim when he came to the settlement in 1830. Waldren settled here in 1827-1828, and was another frontiersman who folded his tent and moved away on the trail of the Indians. John Hamill came about 1842, and is still living in the settlement, a prosperous farmer.

Following close upon the heels of this delegation of Buckeyes, comes an importation from the “dark and bloody ground.” From Kentucky came William Walker, his son Joseph M. Walker, his brother-in-law David Walker, William Stotts, William Patterson, Alexander Gilmer, William A. Stone, John W. Patterson and Robert Rayburn. The latter gentleman was born in the Old Dominion, but immigrated to Kentucky when it was the hunting-ground of numerous tribes of hostile savages. From Kentucky he came to Illinois, in 1827, and settled in Irish Grove, now in Greenview Precinct. His son, Joseph H., came here with him, and he is now an old man. Next to Alexander Meadows, he is the oldest living resident of this precinct, and resides upon the old homestead where his father settled fifty-two years ago. The elder Rayburn died in 1886, and Joseph is the only one of his family now living. His mother, the wife of Robert Rayburn, was a Logan, and of the family of Logans so celebrated in the Indian wars of Kentucky. She died in giving birth to twin boys—Joseph and David L. Rayburn. Robert Rayburn is elsewhere mentioned as the pioneer school teacher of this section of the country. Walker came to Illinois in the fall of 1828, and stopped in Morgan County, and after spending three weeks on horseback, in search of a cabin to shelter his family for the winter, and failing in his endeavor, went back to Clarke Co., Ind., and wintered there. In the fall of 1829, he returned to the Rock Creek settlement in this county, where he spent a part of the winter in his wagon and about a month in a vacant cabin. In February, 1830, he came to this neighborhood, and, as already stated, bought the claim of Peter Price. He died here on the 29th of August, 1836, and his son, Joseph M. Walker, lives on the place where his father then settled. His residence stands upon the identical spot his father’s cabin occupied. David Walker, a brother to the wife of William Walker, and who came to the settlement soon after the latter, bought the claim of Joseph Lucas, upon which he remained until 1837, when he removed to Iowa, where he died in 1876. Capt. William A. Stone was also born in Virginia, but taken to Kentucky by his parents when quite young, whence he immigrated to Illinois in 1830. His father, Moses Stone, came to the settlement at the same time, and was the head of a large family. Both he and his wife died the next year, leaving their twelve children, of whom William A., mentioned above, was one, to battle with life alone. Five of the twelve children are still living, but none, except William A., reside in this precinct. John W. Patterson came in 1830 and William Patterson about 1832. The latter gentleman bought the claim of John Martin upon his arrival in the neighborhood. He did not remain long, but sold out and removed to Iowa in 1837, and now lives in the city of Keokuk. John W. Patterson bought the claim of George Price, upon which he lived until his death, which took place about 1844. The farm upon which he originally settled is still owned by his family. Gilmer came in 1833-34, and made a permanent settlement. He had been here, however, several years before, and married a Miss Walker, as noticed in another page, after which he returned to Kentucky, remaining until the date given above. He died upon the place of his settlement, as did all of the family, except one son, who is still living, and resides on the old homestead. Stotts came to the settlement in 1830, and removed to Iowa in 1840, where he was still living at the last account of him. William Eldridge came to the grove in 1840. He was from the chalky cliffs of old England, and is still living in the precinct.

This comprises all of the early settlers of this precinct whose names we have been able to obtain. As Greenview contains but little timber-land, it was not settled until the virtues of the prairies were discovered, which was at a date so recent as scarcely to entitle the people to the name of “old settlers.” And then, too, Irish Grove, where most of the first settlements were made, is partly in the present precinct of Sugar Grove, and the history of that portion of it is there given.


1879 Index

MAGA © 2000, 2001, 2002. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data and images may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or for other presentation without express permission by the contributor(s).