Transcribed by: Jeanie Lowe.
This is sometimes termed the banner township of Menard County. The section of country lying within its borders is one of the finest in this part of the State; mostly fine rolling prairie, and, without being hilly or broken, is sufficiently undulating to drain well. Besides Clary's Grove, there was originally little timber in what is now Tallula Precinct. It is likewise nearly devoid of water-courses. Clary's Creek and Rock Creek have their source in the central or southern part, but are so small as scarcely to deserve even the name of creeks. The Jacksonville Division of the Chicago & Alton Railroad runs diagonally through from northeast to southwest, and has been of inealeulable benefit, as elsewhere noted. Tallula is the southwestern precinct of the county, and contains three sections less than a regular Congressional town. It is divided into four parts by the township and range lines which cross each other one mile north of the village of Tallula, thus throwing a tier of sections more in the two southern divisions than in the northern, the west one of the latter being three sections short, owing to a jog in the line. The precinct is bounded on the east by Petersburg and Rock Creek Precincts, on the south by Morgan County, on the west by Cass County, and on the north by Petersburg Precinct. No large cities or towns, nor extensive manufactories exist, but farming and stock-raising are the principal source of business enterprise. The beautiful little village of Tallula is the only town in the precinct, and will be noticed more fully farther on in this chapter. This section produces coal of an excellent quality, and mining is carried on to some extent in the vicinity of the village.
Notwithstanding Tallula Precinct is the very perfection of civilization, and the home of wealth and refinement, the time was when it might have boasted of the other extreme. Something over half a century go, the name of Clary's Grove was synonymous with all the deviltry and mischief that occurred within a radius of fifty miles, and the few honorable men whose misfortune it was to live among the "border ruffians" of that remote date, say they were ashamed to tell where they were from when they went to Springfield. The settlement was composed chiefly of the "rag, tag and bob-tail" who leave the more civilized sections for their own and the country's good, seek the frontier where they are unrestrained by law and order, and again take up their line of march as the star of empire wends its way westward. So it was here. As civilization advanced, these rough pulled up stakes and moved on to other frontier localities, and Clary's Grove developed into one of the most quiet and respectable neighborhoods in all the surrounding country, and to-day by the lawless deeds of the "Clary's Grove boys" is almost forgotten, or remains only as the last lingering memories of a hideous nightmare. But we would not have our readers impressed with the idea that we include the Clary family, than whom none better exists in the county, with these hard characters. As we have stated, they were the rough element always found in frontier settlements.