Page 389Transcribed by: Jeanie Lowe
One of the very first church societies formed in what is now Menard County was the Rock Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church, as it is known at the present day. The society was originally organized by Rev. John Berry, in 1821 or 1822. Rev. John Simms came a short time prior, and these two pioneer preachers laid out a camp-ground, as elsewhere noticed, in the forests of Rock Creek, held camp-meetings for a number of years, and the "seed sown in good ground" here has developed into the present Rock Creek Church, which stands near the line between Sections 14 and 15. The first start toward a church was a shed put up for the purposes of holding camp meetings, as above mentioned. The next was a little log building used for both church and school exercises. It was, some years later, rebuilt on a more extensive scale, and, finally, the present elegant frame church succeeded these primitive edifices, and now the people of Rock Creek Precinct have quite a handsome temple of worship. Revs Berry and Simms were the first preachers of this denomination, and laid the foundation of this prosperous church almost sixty years ago. The present Pastor of the Rock Creek Church is Rev. J.C. Momeyer. A Sunday school is conducted during the summer season. This is the only church edifice in the precinct. A neat little parsonage is attached to it for the accommodation of the minister. There is also a cemetery adjacent, in which repose many of the pioneers both of the Church and the neighborhood. It is laid out with taste, well kept, and enclosed with a substantial fence. Rev. Joseph Cogdall was also an early preacher in this settlement, and belonged to the Baptist denomination.
The first school taught in the present precinct of Rock Creek, is said to have been taught by a man named Cumpton, in 1824-25, in a little a log cabin, on the place settled by Tarleton Lloyd. Another of the pioneer pedagogues was Ira McGlasson, who taught in a log cabin, near Andrew Houghton's probably the next year after Humphreys. The precinct, at present, has five, comfortable and commodious schoolhouses, all of which are brick or frame, and in which schools are maintained during the usual term each year. The people are alive to the benefits of education, and have secured ample facilities for educating their children. The following, which is said to have occurred in this precinct, will illustrate the early educational advantages of a new country; a young man applied to the proper authority (an old farmer) for a school in the neighborhood. The old gentleman deeming an examination necessary put him to reading the Bible as a test of his qualifications. It so happened that the young man opened the book in Genesis, at the genealogical record, and, after reading for a time in those jaw-breaking names, the old fellow stopped him and said, "he guessed he'd do to keep school thar," and that he might write out a certificate. The young man complied, and, after writing the certificated, handed it to the old man to sign, who remarked, "you sign my name and Ill make my mark, I can't write it myself."Page 390
Tarleton Lloyd was the first blacksmith, and opened a shop as early as 1822-23, and did the work in this line for the surrounding country. A mill was built by Rev. Mr. Simms, in 1823, the first in this region. It was a primitive affair, and propelled by horsepower, but served to crack corn for hominy, and even wheat was "mashed" on it sometimes, as an old settler informed us. But it has long since passed away, and milling is now done at other points.
The first Justice of the Peace is supposed to have been a man of the name of Syniard, who was among the early settlers. One of the Bones was also an early Justice of the Peace in "Wolf County," as this precinct is familiarly called. In illustration of these early courts, the following is told at the expense of Squire Syniard: Two of his neighbors got into a wrangle over a debt which one owed the other, and which he had promised to pay in hogs. In the fall, when the debt was to have been paid, hogs happened to be a good price, so the debtor sold his fat hogs, and delivered to his creditor a sow and pigs, which he contended fulfilled his obligation, as they were hogs. The creditor demurred, and a suit was the result. It came up before Squire Syniard for trial, and after patiently hearing both sides of the question, he rendered judgment in favor of the creditor, deciding that, legally, a sow and pigs were not hogs. A post office was established in the precinct in 1877, called Lloyd Post Office, after the oldest living settler. It is on the creek, east of Isaac Cogdall's, and is kept by L.B. Conover.
Politically, Rock Creek is Democratic to the backbone. Farmer's Point is the voting-place. During the late war, it was loyal, and turned out as large a number of soldiers to its population, as any neighborhood in the county. The men of Rock Creek volunteered into the regiments raised in this section, which drew their chief strength from Menard, and among which were the Fourteenth and One Hundred and Fourteenth Regiments, Illinois Infantry. This precinct receives its name from Rock Creek, which meanders through it from east to west. Whether the creek was named for the rock in and about it, or because all things must have a name, we do not know, but leave it to our readers to find out. This comprises the history of this little precinct. The territory being small, and without villages and towns, there is little history beyond the settlements made within its borders.