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Jersey County Page     Jersey County History

Elsah Landing

First known as Jersey Landing

Driving Cattle

Mr. Johnson driving cattle to Alton from Jersey Landing.

Transcription may contain typos.

Another of the Bates daughters married Josiah Askew in 1821 and this is supposed to have been the first marriage ceremony ever performed in what is now Jersey County. Jersey was then a part of Greene.

Elsah was first called Jersey Landing and as such was a shipping center for the grain produced by Jersey County.

The Jersey Landing Road (now Highway 67) was the route by which farmers in northern Jersey took their grain to the river for shipment to firms in Alton and St. Louis.

Elsah is the foremost town in this Township and is a most picturesque place. Many of the houses are quite old but are still substantial as they were built of native stone and have withstood the ravages of time.

The Principia, built on the site of the Ames and Turner estates, is the latest addition to Elsah Township, and bluffs of this country.

The Indians which inhabited the Elsah territory before the coming of the white man called the place “Happy Valley” and in Father Marquette’s journals the locale is mentioned and the priest referred to it as “Paradise.”

The legend of the Piasa Bird belongs to this part of the country, and the killing of the monster is supposed to have taken place on the bluffs in the vicinity of Elsah and Chautauqua.

The first settlement of this part of the country is believed to have been made by William Bates, who came to the county in 1817. Bates was married and had a family when he came to Jersey County.

Nancy Bates, one of William’s daughters and James Redden planned to get married, but there was no Justice in this part of the country with the proper authority to tie the knot. Redden made a trip to the County seat of Madison County and got the license, then he and his fiancee rode horseback far enough that they were sure they were in the proper county and by the light of a bonfire were married under an oak tree at night.

Contributed by Marty Crull and his volunteers.

Jersey County Page     Jersey County History