Page 379Transcribed by: Jeanie Lowe
Primarily, the hominy mortar was the instrument used for the production of breadstuff. When wheat began to be raised, a trip, occupying two weeks, to Madison County for grinding, was no uncommon thing among the early settlers, and at a point on the Sangamon, near Springfield, was for a number of years their nearest mill. Early blacksmithing was obtained at Springfield. If an ox ring was needed, or a log cabin was to be mended, it necessitated a pilgrimage to the preset capital. After the founding of Salem, many of these inconveniences became things of the past. Money, as a medium of barter and exchange, was but little used by the early settlers. Indeed, as we remarked by one of the pioneers, it was "truck for truck," even to the paying of the necessary to meet the demands of the Government in the way of taxes, and this required but a nominal sum. One old settler informed us that on the same quarter section on which in recent years he has paid $75 in taxes, in those early days $1.75 was amply sufficient to satisfy all demands. In the matter of church organization, the Cumberland Presbyterians were the first in the field. Their first church was organized in 1826, and for some time services were held, as was the custom, at private houses and in the groves. Old Concord Church, on the creek of the same name in the southeastern part of the precinct, was erected about the year 1830. It was a substantial frame building and served the congregation as a house of worship for about thirty years. John M. Berry was the early Pastor of the flock. James Pantier and wife, William and James Rutledge and wives, Samuel Berry and wife were the original members. Jesse Armstrong was the first received into membership. The denomination has prospered remarkably and has a large membership throughout the county. The present church edifice was built about 1862-63, and is a model of neatness for a country church. The Baptist society effected an organization in the precinct as early as 1833. Revs Thomas Plasters and John Antle were among the early Baptist ministers of this section. Their first church was doubtless erected near the site of Robinson's Mill, but the date of this building we were not able to ascertain. New Hope Church, built on the northwest corner of Section 16, was the result of the united efforts of the Cumberland Presbyterians and Baptists, who occupy it alternately for public services. The building is a neat frame and was erected about 1861-62. A German church has recently been built on the southeast quarter of Section 10, but of these last we were able to obtain but very meager statistics. Robinson's Mill was built on Clary's Creek, not far below the confluence of Little Grove Creek and the first mentioned stream. It was a water mill and did work for a large scope of territory. Though the exact time of its establishment cannot be given, it is safe to say that it was not far from 1840. A town site was surveyed and platted, but, from some hindrances, failed to develop into much of a village, and is now numbered with the dead. The only post office ever established in the precinct outside of the ones now found in Oakford and Atterberry was at this point about the year 1844-45. Over this, John Bonnet presided as Postmaster. The place is now deserted; no mark or vestige of its former greatness remains. The mill has long since been abandoned, and the merchants and mechanics of "Bobtown" have given her over to the moles and bats.
Dr. John Allen was the first practicing physician in this section. He came from the Green Mountain State and located in Salem at an early day. He was thoroughly qualified and became eminent in his profession. Dr. Duncan was also early in the field, and, like Allen, was a resident of Salem. He afterward moved to Warsaw. He is spoken of as being a well-read and successful practitioner. Early mail matter was received at Springfield, when the settler was fortunate enough to be able to lift the billet-doux, or a line from the loved ones at home, from the office, for this luxury cost the sum of 25 cents, an amount of cash not at all times readily obtained. Among those clothed with legal authority in a early day, we may record the names of Samuel Berry and Robert Armstrong as the first Justices of the Peace. William Armstrong was, perhaps, the first to serve in this capacity after the present precinct organization was effected. S.D. Masters was also quite an early Justice, and, in 1855, was chosen a member of the Legislature. It was during this session that Abraham Lincoln first figured prominently as a candidate for a seat in the United States Senate. The history of this precinct has, as regards its early settlement, been so intimately connected with other portions of the county that should the date given as to the coming of some of its citizens fall wide of the mark, we can only offer in palliation of the offense, that we have closely adhered to the testimony of the oldest and best-posted citizens now living within her borders, guided, also, by an earnest desire to present the record in as perfect and complete a manner as possible.