Transcribed by: Ellen Booth.
The prairies of the West, though favored with a soil scarcely equaled in the wold, and possessed of climate and water unsurpassed, yet, apparently, lacking in the means of producing warmth, were slow to attract the emigrant; while the eastern portion of the United States, though not so highly favored in these respects, was settled two hundred years earlier than those vast Western plains. When Illinois began to fill up with the Anglo-Saxon race, we find its first occupants steering their “prairie schooners” for the groves of timber and the streams of water, where they rightly concluded lay, with a productive soil, also plenty of fuel and water. It was not until nearly every acre of timberland lying adjacent to watercourses had been “claimed,” that people in this section of the country turned their attention to the prairies. With the utmost caution, they ventured out beyond the protecting shelter of the forest, and, as cabins rose up on the broad plains, the croakers, who are ever ready to prophesy evil, indulged in all manner of predictions in regard to the fearless pioneers---such as freezing to death, and being blown away by storms. This was the case in this county and in this precinct, as well as elsewhere, and no settlements were made beyond the timber, until necessity compelled the increasing population to “move on”.
Indian Creek Precinct the subject of this chapter is as fine a body of land as, to use a familiar expression, “a crow ever flew over.” The greater portion of it is fine rolling prairie, neither hills nor bluffs, nor low, flat levels, but more resembling the swells of the ocean. It is well watered and drained by Salt Creek on the north boundary, Sangamon River on the west boundary, Indian Creek on the south boundary, and Little Grove and Sugar Grove Creeks flowing through it, so that it has no lack of water facilities. "“It is bounded on the north by Mason County, on the west by Sandridge Precinct, on the south by Petersburg and Athens, and on the east by Sugar Grove and Greenview Precincts, and lies in Townships 18 and 19 north, Range 6 west of the Third Principal Meridian, according to the Government survey. No villages or towns break the monotony of its vast productive fields at the present day, though quite a village at one time existed in its territory, as noticed in another page. The Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad runs through from southwest to northeast, and, while it is a vast benefit to the precinct as a means of transportation, yet there is no station within its borders. The shipping point is Greenview, principally, which is but a mile or so from the line. This is the smallest precinct in Menard County except Rock Creek, having but about twenty-nine sections of land. But while the land of Rock Creek is rather inferior in quality, taken altogether, that of Indian Creek is of the best, and its farmers, judging from their spacious farms and elegant residences are among the most prosperous in the county.