Search billions of records on

Cantrall, Illinois

The First Church of Sangamon County, Illinois
Organized May 15 1820
Stephen England

The England Family
Pages 254 - 257

Page 254
History of the England Family

For the benefit of the many people interested in the England family, we thought it appropriate to publish this unpublished manuscript of the England Family in its entirety. The original is 10 pages of handwritten material and it states it was acquired from 1870, and donated by a former member and a present member. We believe it was written in 1931. There are a few items here that are not in any other history of the England family, including the Sangamon County histories.

Among the early settlers of Sangamon County were the family of Stephen England. He was born in Virginia June 12, 1773. History tells us his parents names were David and Lucy England. He had two brothers - Jesse and David -- six sisters -- Debory, Lucy, Elizabeth, Nancy, Polly and Eleanor.* Stephen England with his parents came to Bath County, Kentucky. There he was united in marriage to Anna Harper -- year 1792 who parents also came from Virginia. **

Ten chidren were born to them. Two of whom were married in Kentucky. Fanny married Levi Cantrall in 1809 and Sarah became the wife of Wyatt Cantrall. In 1813 he with his family and that of his two daughters left Kentucky and came to Ohio. Two more children were added to the family while living in Ohio. After they had lived here five years a disease broke out among the cattle making the milk unfit to drink. They again loaded their belongings and families into wagons and started for Illinois.

They arrived in Madison County in the fall. Stephen England and his two son-in-laws in December came to Sangamon County of which they had received glowing accounts. The only settlement of that time in Fancy Creek was a cabinet (cabin?) on the south side of the river near where the C. & A. R. R. crosses Sherman. It was occupied by William Higgins and his family. Stephen England and his family stayed all night with Mr. Higgins.

The next day they crossed the river and pushed farther northward and selected land for settlement by them. Snow was on the ground and very cold. They then returned to Madison County.

In March they came back again and Mr. Englands son, David came with them. He rode on horse back. They began the contruction of their homes. Felling trees and chopping logs with which to build their houses. Stephen with the help of his son soon had their house up and roofed. The other two had the material ready for theirs. The foot of snow which was on the ground began to melt and they realized that if they wanted to get across the river which they had to ford, it was expedient to start without delay. They went back to Madison County. In April they set out for thier new home with their baggage and families. The roads were almost impassable. They were compelled to leave the women and children with a family by the name of Drennan near Auburn. However two of the Englands' daughters came with them to their new home. They completed their houses and planted their crops. The remainder of the party came in June. Several other families by this time had arrived and settled near that of the Englands.


*Stephen England's parents were David and Lucy (Hodges) England. Stephen had 7 sisters, including Sarah. **Anna Harper was the daughter of John and Srarh (Wells) Harper.

Page 255

History of the England Family

The people began to feel the need of religious services, so Stephen England, who was a Baptist minister in Kentucky, announced that he would hold services in his home on Sunday late in June. Everybody in the entire settlement came. One woman walked five miles and a man walked three miles and carried a baby in order to be present at the services. Out of this little meeting grew the organization of a church in May 15, 1820. There were eight charter members --Stpehen and Ann England, Jeconiah Langston, Levi and Fanny Cantrall, Mrs. Adelphia Wood, Sarah Cantrall and Mrs. Lucy Scott. *

This organization still survives and is now known as the Cantrall Christian Church. It is now occupying its third house of worship.

Stephen England also performed the first marriage ceremony in Sangamon County. He married John Cline and Mrs. Lucy Scott in summer of 1820 on the South side of the River. **

A couple from Ft. Clark, now Peoria not having a marriage license and unable to go to Edwardsville to procure one - posted notice of their intention on the trees for ten days -- after which they were married. Philo Beers and Martha Stillman also were married by Mr. England -- and it was thought by many to have been the first wedding in the county. It was the first social feature of importance. England borrowed shoes of Evans Brittin for this occasion as he passed through the field where he was plowing, on the way to the wedding.

Stephen England remained Pastor of the church he organized the remainder of his life. His last sermon was delivered sitting. He died from the effects of a cancer of one of his ankles on Sept. 26, 1928.***


* This list of charter members differs from some of the others that are in other publications. Some of the others name Jeconiah's wife, Nancy (Dodson) Langston as another charter member. We believe this to be correct. See Christian-Evangelist for September 12, 1907, page 1173 and 1174.

** Other Sangamon County histories do not show that Lucy England (Scott) and John Cline was the first marriage in Sangamon County, but I believe this was the first. Lucy was the daughter of Sepehen England. One of the Sangamon County histories (1904) state that Lucy and John Cline were married July 20, 1820. Much has been written about the marriage of Philo Beers and Martha Stillman who were married November 2, 1820 by Elder Stephen England. Their license was procured in Edwardsville October 27, 1820, and it was the 279th license issued from there.

*** This very clearly says Sept. 26, 1928, but Stephen England died September 26, 1823. Both the Bible record and his tombstone says he died September 26, 1823.

Note - Besides the Stillman-Beers and the Scott-Cline marriages, we know that Stephen England performed the marriages of David Barnes and Acsah Andrews March 15, 1821 and Charles Orendorf and Matilda Stringfield on April 5, 1821. He also married Melinda Wilcoxon & Joshua Sayles July 7, 1822.

Page 256
The History of the England Family

Following are the names of 12 children:
Fanny married Levi Cantrall in 1809
Sally married Wyatt Cantrall
Lucy married Scot--Jackie Cline
Anne married Andrew Clarno -- *
Polly married Evans Brittin
Sitha married George Anderson
David married Margaret Higgins Nov. 19, 183- (torn off) **
Elizabeth married Hiram Wentworth-died early in life-left 3 children
Kerziah married Charles Smith-moved to California-have 6 children
John married Mary Smith--live at Mt. Pulaski ***
Adelphia married Joseph Smith--Wm. Goodpasture
Jesse married Mahala Smith--Irish Grove

John England followed in the footsteps of his father and became a preacher of the gospel. He would toil on the farm during the week and deliver sermons on Sunday. ****

The house David England and his father built was about one quarter of a mile north of the present residence of Henry England near the trestle of the C & I. M. R. R.

David Engalnd who married Margaret Higgins in Nov. 18, 1823, built his house on the site of the tenant house one half mile southeast of H. H. England's residence. Both sites are still in possession of Mr. H. England. David was devouted (sp?) to his church, often riding many miles on a horse to attend services in neighboring communities. He was for many years elder of the church organized by his father. Holding that position at the time of his death. He had a fall from an apple tree late in life breaking his leg. It left him slight crippled. He was very fond of telling stories of pioneer life and his early experiences. He tells of seeing Indians bury their dead by putting them in troughs suspending them in trees. Also building pens around them and leaving them to decay. He related a story of finding a panther in the river bottom measuring nine feet from tip to tip. He would find as many as five bee trees in one day. The land evidently flowed with honey, if not with milk. His last home was built in the village of Cantrall on a lot adjoining the church yard. Aunt Peggy, his wife, as she was familiarly known, was a very pretty woman with brown eyes. In later years she always wore a lace cap, black for every day and a white one for Sunday. She used to tell the story of the girls in her day carrying their shoes and stockings in their hand on going to church and putting them on as they neared the meeting house. When a young man asked to accompany her home, she very much feared punishment, for walking through the tall grass in her good shoes.

* All of the published histories of this family say Anne or Anna England married Andrew Cline, but there are also stories that one member of the family was called Cline so often, the he changed his name to Cline, so we are wondering if this Ancrew Clarno is the one.

**David England married Margaret Higgins November 18, 1823 according to the England Bible record. They were married in Sangamon County, Illinois November 18, 1823 according to the Sangamon County marriages.

***John England also married as his second wife, Sarah Groves.

****See articles elsewhere in the book for further information on John and his ministry.

Page 257
History of the England Family

The children of David England, fourteen in number are seven boys and seven girls. They are:
Louisa Turley; Charles & James (twins); Julia Lake; Adam *; Mary Mott; Stepehen; Evaline Mitts; William & Henry **; Margaret Canterbury; Milan ***; Caroline Beck; and Rose Ann Council

They all with their husbands-wives and the larger part of their families have gone on before except Henry England who is the only one of the fourteen living. He is 84 years old May 19th 1931. **** Charles having passed away since we met in our reunion one year ago. The year of 1929.

Henry England married Mary Anne Price in 1869, November 17th. Nine children were born of this union--namely:
Rena Claypool; Luvena Crothers; Flora, at home; William P. who married Pearl Grant; Margaret Primm; Jessie who died Nov. 15th 1928; Clara Grant; Charles H., at home and Glayds Flagg.

At present there are 31 grandchildren and 12 greatgrandchildren. The wife of Henry England, "Mary Anne" died March 17th, 1931 at the age of 82 years, 2 months.


Charles T. and James M. England were twins born January 15, 1844.
**William England was born September 23, 1834.
Henry England was born May 19, 1847
Adam is incorrect, since this was David Addison England, familiarly known as Ad.
***Milan is Milan R. England born October 19, 1848.
****Henry Harrison England was born May 19, 1847 and died December 25, 1932.

Note -- for further information on this family, see the England-Higgins Bible Records elsewehre in the book.

Antioch Table of Contents
Sangamon Index

This resource page can be used by reseachers in their quest for their family history
but cannot be reproduced in any format for profit. 2008