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Early settlement and Historic Items
From History of Greene and Jersey Counties, Illinois, Springfield, IL: Continental Historical Co., 1885, pp. 72 – 83. Not a complete transcription. There will be typographical errors.
Early Settlement of Jersey County
In the fall of 1815 six men, Daniel Allen and his three sons, John, James and Daniel and two brothers, Paul and James Harriford, left their native state of Tennessee to search out a new home. They came as far as the Wood river settlement without finding any place that suited them, and on arriving at that place, after some deliberation, started on further north. They settled within the limits of what is now Jersey township, south of the Macoupin creek, nearly opposite to the mouth of Taylor’s creek or branch, on Section 13. Their nearest neighbors were 20 miles south of them and north of them much further off. During 1816 these pioneers raised a crop of corn and enjoyed themselves. During the fall of that year Daniel Allen, Sr., and his two sons, James and Daniel, Jr., moved westward about six miles into what is now Greene county. The Harrifords moved to Missouri.
Philip Grimes came to this county in the spring of 1818 and erected a cabin on Section 2, of what is now known as English township. He brought his family here from Upper Alton and installed them therein. At this place, on January 20, 1820, was born Jarrett T., his son, who is supposed to be the first white child born within the limits of the county, now living. Philip Grimes resided in the cabin until 1822, when he purchased the improvements of Thos. Lynn on section 23 of the same township, and moved there. Mr. Grimes was born August 26, 1782 in Virginia, and was united in marriage to Polly Boyett, June 4, 1808, in Davidson county, Tennessee. Mrs. Grimes was a native of that county and state, born March 10, 1790. She died September 29, 1853, and Mr. Grimes, October 4, 1851.
Philemon Higgins is believed to have settled on the banks of the stream called after him, Phill’s creek, in 1817, as he was found there by those who passed that way early in the following year. He made this his residence for many years and finally died in this county.
Jacob Lurton, Sr. came to Jersey county in the spring of 1817 and built a cabin near the east line of section 1 in what is now Elsah township. He remained here but a short time, when finding the water not very good in that locality, moved a short distance east of it tot he neighborhood of a spring, but which still left him in Jersey county. He lived in the latter cabin until his death in 1827. His son Judge Jacob Lurton and grand children are still residents of the county.
David Stockton and James Whitesides came to Jersey county June 10, 1817. Tradition has it that a party, among whom were the above mentioned, Edward Carroll, and others came through this section of the state looking for a home, the most of them going as far north as Sangamon county, but these two gentlemen liking the looks of the country hereabouts, stopped and made settlements. James Whitesides settled on section 25 in what is now English township, where he lived for several years. He made another improvement besides this, and in 1821 sold out and moved to Greene county.
William Bates made a settlement in Elsah township among the very first to locate in that sub-division of the county. He erected his cabin on section 25 in 1817, and resided there some years and finally moved to a farm near Upper Alton, where he died at a later date. With William Bates came his son, James, a married man with a family.
John W. Huitt came to what is now Jersey county and located on the northeast quarter of section 31 in Ruyle township in 1818. This land was entered at the land office on October 23, 1820 in the name of H. and John, Jr. The elder Huitt remained here about two years, moving in 1820 to the neighborhood of Carrollton on a farm, and later to the city of Carrollton, where he died in 1882. He was one of the pioneers of the state having located in Madison county in 1804.
The pioneer settler of Piasa township was John Wilkins, who came to this county in 1818 and located on the southwest quarter of section 31. He improved a farm there, but in 1824 moved to section 18, near the present site of Delhi. He lived there some twenty years, keeping a stage station most of the time. He then went to Jerseyville to live with his daughter, Mrs. Harriet Silloway. Shortly afterwards he went to Paw Paw Grove, Illinois, to live with his daughter, Sarah Baker. While there he died. He was a brother-in-law of V. R. and S. A. Lurton.
William Larue made a settlement in what is now Rosedale township early in 1818, where he lived on section 8 until 1837, when he sold out and moved to Greene county.
Jesse White came to Jersey county in 1818, locating in what is now Mississippi township. He was born in Madison county, Illinois, January 5, 1807. He is now dead.
Edward Carroll was one of the early settlers of what is now Elsah township; he located with his family on the center of section 23 on July 17, 1818. His settlement should probably date a little further back, as he selected his location in 1817 and returned to it in the early spring of 1818, having everything in readiness for his family when they arrived, in charge of his brother-in-law.
With Mr. Carroll came his brother-in-law, James Moffit, who made a settlement on land adjoining Carroll’s. He resided here a few years, but moved back to Ohio, where he died.
John Carroll also settled in the same locality in 1819, and resided there until 1837, when he died. He was the father of Thomas Carroll, at one time county commissioner, and prominently identified with this county. The latter gentleman died July 24, 1870.
David Gilbert and John Stafford were also settlers of the year 1819, taking up farms west of Grafton, on the Illinois river bottom.
About the same time, Henry Babcock settled in the southeastern corner of Quarry township, where he died.
George Finney, who had been a soldier in the regular army, on receiving his discharge in 1819, came to this county and located on the Illinois bottom land, within the present limits of Quarry township.
Sanford Hughes, a companion and friend of the above, came here with him and located in the same neighborhood, the same year.
Timothy Copeland, another discharged soldier, settled in Quarry township in 1819, in the southern part.
John G. Lofton and John D. Gilham came to Jersey county in 1819 and made a settlement in Mississippi township, the former on section 21. This neighborhood received its name of Lofton’s Prairie from the former of these gentlemen. Judge Lofton resided here nearly always after this, with the exception of a short time spent in Fulton county, until the day of his death in 1837.
John D. Gilham was a South Carolinian, but came here from Kentucky, and later from Madison county, Ill., where he had settled as early as 1800. He settled, on coming here, on section 28, where he resided until the coming of death, in October 1852.
John Crain settled in this county in 1819. He was a North Carolinian who had settled in Tennessee in 1806, where he was married to Heriba Rumney. In 1811 they came to Illinois, settling in St. Clair county, where they resided until coming here. They located in English township. He afterwards moved to Texas where he died.
Walter Cresswell located in the present township of Rosedale in 1819, and is said to have been the first justice of the peace ever appointed within the limits of what now constitutes Jersey county. He received this appointment in 1820.
Daniel McFain settled in what is now Richwoods township on section 20 in 1819. He built a cabin at the foot of the bluff in the same year, and gave his name to McFain’s lake. He was one of the early justices of the peace of this county. He died while a resident of the county in 1830. He was a Pennsylvanian by birth.
John Gunterman, a native of Kentucky, came into what is now Jersey county in the spring of 1819, and settled on a farm on section 5 in the present Richwoods township. On January 10, 1821 he entered a quarter section of land here, on which he lived until 1832, when he died.
Josiah Cummings and his sons, James and Jacob, made a settlement in Mississippi township in 1819, the former locating on land on section 11, where he lived until his death. James subsequently moved to Oregon. Jacob died in this county.
Thomas Cummings, another son of Josiah Cummings, came to Jersey county in 1819, and assisted his father in agricultural pursuits until 1824, when he was married, and purchased a farm adjoining his father, where he resided until his death in 1856.
Col. Josiah T. Askew came to Jersey county in 1819 with George Finney, Sanford Hughes and the others. He was a native of Tennessee, and had served some five years in the regular army. On his discharge he came here, as above, and settled on Lofton’s prairie. He married Hannah Bates in 1821, this being the first event of that nature in that precinct.
James Thompson settled in the present township of Elsah about the year 1819. He afterward moved to the state of Texas and has been lost sight of.
Joseph Basey came to the county as early as 1819 and settled neighbor to James Thompson. He is reported to have been the first justice of the peace in this township or precinct, having been elected to that office in 1822.
Jehu Brown, commonly called “Judge,” came to Jersey county about the year 1820. He was a native of South Carolina, but came here from St. Louis county, Mo. On January 5, 1821 he entered 880 acres of land in sections 1 and 2 in English township. He died while a resident of this county in 1835.
John Brown came to Jersey county in 1820 and settled on section 25 of what is now English township. He lived here until his death which occurred about 1873.
Abiram McKinney settled on the Illinois river bottom land in Richwoods township in 1820, but in October 1821, having entered land on section 23, he moved there, where he lived until 1822, when he moved to section 24, where he did die in 1840. James McKinney, his son, came with him. The latter died here, but his widow is still living in Kansas.
John Stall settled on section 3, Richwood township in 1820, where he built a cabin, which he vacated the following year, going over on the Macoupin creek, cutting logs, and drifting them down to St. Louis.
Major Gershon Patterson was one of the settlers coming late in 1820, and entering land in what is now English township in January 1821. Before coming here he had lived in St. Clair county for some time. He was known as an enterprising man, and built the first brick house, the first mill and the first distillery within the present limits of Jersey county. He was a captain of a company in the Black Hawk war, and was afterwards made a major of the state militia. He was a zealous member of the Methodist church, and became an exhorter in that faith. He died in 1857, a resident of this county.
Major Patterson had a large peach orchard on his place, and he put up a copper still about 1828 or 1829, and entered into the manufacture of peach brandy. The quality of the product is described as having been very good, and as the liquor was very cheap, there being then no revenue tax, the capacity of the still was often taxed by applicants for the brandy, who would come with their jugs to be filled. Such goods are said to have been then much purer than they can be obtained at the present time, and were much used by the hard-working pioneers while at their labors. Still, it is said, there was little or no drunkenness among the early settlers. Major Patterson made a financial success of his pioneer distillery, and after about ten years, quit the business, having accumulated considerable money and property. He sold the still to some one at a distance. Some thirty years ago the buildings were torn down.
John Gillworth made a settlement in this county in 1820 in what is now Rosedale township, where the Otter creek passes through the bluff. In 1830 he moved to Ruyle township, entering a tract of land in section 29. He has since died.
John R. Black made a settlement in what is now Mississippi township in 1820. He was the first treasurer of the county.
Samuel J. Kincade came to Jersey county in 1820 or 1821 and settled in what is now Mississippi township. The circuit court of Greene county, of which his was then a portion, in 1821 appointed him one of the judges of election for the company district, as it was called, to preside over the election of militia officers.
John Waddle was another settler of the same year, as is evident by the record, he being one of the judges of the same election. With him came David Waddle and William Waddle. They probably settled within the limits of Mississippi township. These old pioneers are now numbered with the dead, but have descendants living in Jersey county.
William Davidson made a settlement in what is now Otter creek township about the year 1820 or 1821, coming from the American Bottom. After a short residence here he returned to that locality, where he eventually died.
William Adair located in English township in 1821 and opened up a farm. He married Miss Crain. He sold his place to Robert La Force and removed from the county. This farm is now known as the Wright place.
Nathaniel Rowdon made a settlement in the present Richwoods township in 1820, where he lived for many years. He married a daughter of Abiram McKenney, who afterwards died. He is said to have lived at one time in a big hollow sycamore tree. He left here, going to Texas, where he is believed to have died.
William Rowdon also settled in Richwoods township in the same year.
William Dixon and Ira Kelley made settlements in this county early in 1821. They have long since passed away from the memory of the oldest inhabitant, but they filled positions as judges of election in 1822, as appears from the records.
James Barnes, who settled in Elsah township, was an incorrigible bachelor, and remembered by old settlers as wearing a heavy beard and whiskers.
John Smith settled on section 8 in Richwood township in 1820 or earlier. In 1823 he moved to Greene county.
Samuel Gates settled on section 9, Richwoods township, about 1820, and moved to Greene county in 1827, where he died in 1842. He was the first justice of the peace in that precinct, being appointed to that office in 1828.
John and William Buck came about 1820 and located in the vicinity of John Smith’s settlement, in the northwestern portion of Richwood township. They moved to Greene county in 1823 and died there.
Among the settlers of 1820 were William Cresswell, Elisha Fowler, and John Cox, who made homes for themselves within the limits of what is now Rosedale township. Elisha Fowler moved to Calhoun county, and died while a resident there in 1858, at an advanced age.
Thomas Cresswell and Samuel Cresswell settled in Richwood township in the spring of 1820, where they resided for many years. Thomas located on the southeast quarter of section 9, and Samuel on section 4.
Moses Seeds was the next settler in the fall of 1820. He located in Richwoods township on section 17, where he lived in 1825, when he sold out and moved to the American Bottom in Madison county.
John Thornton came to Jersey county in 1820, and in January 1821 entered 280 acres of land on section 23 of English township, where he resided until 1824, when he disposed of this farm to Mathew Darr, and moved to Richwoods township, where he subsequently died.
Among the pioneers of 1821 or 1822 was Joseph White, who settled in what is now Otter creek township. He died, a resident of the county, previous to 1830.
Silas Crain, Sr., settled in Jersey county in 1821 on some land on section 15 in what is now English township. He afterwards moved to Rosedale township. He died at the residence of James McKinney, of consumption.
John Medford made a settlement on section 8, Richwoods township, in the spring of 1821. He was an Englishman, but came here from Cape Girardeau, Mo. He built his cabin, and started back after his family and brought them here and settled down to the hard work of a western pioneer, and remained here until his death, which occurred in 1825.
Thomas White and Samuel Lofton made a settlement in Mississippi township in 1821. They resided here for two or three years, when they moved to Otter Creek township, where they lived for many years.
Jesse Watson came to Jersey county in 1822, and located on a farm in Richwoods township, where he hewed out a clearing and put up a cabin. Here he lived until his death which occurred in 1838.
John Neal made a settlement in Richwoods township in 1822 on a 40 acre tract on section 14, in the timber, one of the first to enter land on the bluff. He afterwards moved to another state.
Francis Colean was another of the pioneers of 1822. In April of that year he entered the west half of the southwest quarter of section 13, in what is now English township, where he lived until the day of his death in 1846.
A man by the name of Richardson, the father-in-law of Ashur Chase, made a settlement in Mississippi township in 1822 or 1823. He moved sometime afterwards to Scott county, where he was drowned.
John Ballard came to what is now Jersey county in 1821 and located on section 30 of what is now Jersey township, but in the year 1823 he sold out to John Falkner, who died there in 1824. Ballard than moved to the present site of Jerseyville and erected a cabin. James Falkner, in 1826, purchased the improvements of Ballard, and the latter moved to a place on what is now known as Dorsey’s branch, then known as Ballard’s branch, but shortly afterwards left the county.
Mathew Cowan, who had settled in Madison county in 1812, came to Jersey county in 1822, and made a settlement within the limits of Ruyle township where he lived for many years. He was a native of Virginia and died a resident of Jersey county. He was known by the nickname of “Doctor,” and for many years had spells of insanity, but was capable of doing business between them.
John Falkner came to this county in 1823 and purchased the place on section 30, occupied by John Ballard, and commenced to open up a farm. He was a native of Pennsylvania and an excellent farmer. He was frozen to death in the winter of 1824-25.
John C. Whitlock was one of the pioneers of 1823, coming to Jersey county and locating in what has since been known as Ruyle township. He was a native of the “Old Dominion,” Virginia, but came here from Kentucky. He died sometime in 1879.
William Gillham, the father of John D., following his son, came into the county in 1823, and made a settlement in Mississippi township on section 29, where he died two years afterward.
Mrs. Jane Gillham, a widow with her family, came from South Carolina in 1823, and made a settlement on section 28, in what is now Mississippi township. She died here about the year 1828.
Thomas McDow, a native of South Carolina, came here from Missouri and settled on section 32, Mississippi township in 1823. He had, previous to going to Missouri, lived on the American Bottom, being one of the pioneers of the state, where he was married in 1819 to Mary L. Lofton. He died a resident of this county in 1874.
Jacob Cummings settled on section 15 in 1823. He was from Madison county, and made an entry of his lands, shortly after coming here. He lived and died a resident of this county from that time on. The last event took place in 1825.
John Findley located on section 22 in Mississippi township in the fall of 1823, but after a year’s stay sold out and moved from the county.
A settlement was made by William G. Waddle in 1823 on Section 33, Mississippi township. He was a native of South Carolina, but raised in Madison county, this state. He lived an died a resident of the county.Ashur Chase is numbered among the early settlers of Mississippi township, locating there, on the Stone place, in 1823. He afterward moved to Knox county, and a few years ago was alive. With him came his father, Abel, who is numbered among the oldest settlers. The latter died a resident of this county.
John N. English, still a resident of the county, made his settlement in Jersey county in 1824.
Mathew Darr came to Jersey county in 1824. He had been running a horse mill on the American Bottom, but liking the looks of this county, came here and purchased the farm of John Thornton in English township. He resided here until 1853, when he was removed by the hand of death.
John McDow, father of Thomas, came in 1824 and settled on section 23, on land now owned by Joseph Knight. He came from South Carolina, and was a powder maker by trade, having owned a mill in that state. He lived on the old homestead in this township until his death in 1835.
Thomas Cummings, a brother of Jacob’s, made a settlement just east of the latter in the fall of 1824. He died a resident of this place. His descendants are among the citizens of the county.
Orman Beeman, in the fall of 1824, made another settler of the county, locating on section 30 in Mississippi township. He was a native of South Carolina. He died here at an advanced age, about eight years ago.
With Orman Beeman came a man by the name of M. Griffith, who made a settlement.
Joab White, a blacksmith by trade, made his appearance in Mississippi township in the spring of 1824, and settled on the northeast quarter of section 30, and opened a forge, which was the first in the county. He died a resident of this county. He was a native of North Carolina.
James Hinson made a settlement in what is now Mississippi township in 1824. He died on the homestead which he took up then, and all of his children have followed him to the land of shadows.
Alexander P. Scott and David Gilbert made settlements and cleared land in the woods of Rosedale township, about the year 1824 or 1825. Here they lived for many years.
Robert Latham, a North Carolinian, came to Jersey county in 1825 and settled in Jersey township, where he lived for many years. He died at his residence here in 1885. He was a bachelor, and disposed of his property to schools, churches, and relatives.
John Ryan was a settler of 1825 in Mississippi township. He located at first about five miles southeast of Jerseyville on the Caleb Stone place, but afterwards moved to the neighborhood of Carrollton. In 1840 he returned to this county and settled on section 27, Ruyle township. Here he died, January 27, 1865.
John R. Caldwell came to Jersey county about the fall of 1828 and settled within the limits of what is now Mississippi township.
Gregg McDaniel settled on Otter creek on section 7 in the fall of 1828, and died there in 1859.
A. Carson made a settlement in Mississippi township about 1826.
James Falkner settled on the present site of the town of Jerseyville in 1826, and lived here until about 1830 or 1831, when he moved to Quincy.
Francis Swan, a native of North Carolina, made a settlement in Mississippi township in 1826, where he lived until his death in 1850.
James Dabbs, a native of South Carolina, moved thence to Barren county, Ky., several years after his marriage, which occurred in 1802. There he resided until 1819, when he came to Illinois and settled on Wood river, north of Upper Alton. In 1826 he came to Jersey county, and located on what is now the McAdams farm, but in 1829 or 1830 he moved on section 9 of Otter creek township, where he resided until his death, which occurred December 19, 1841. With him came his brother, Samuel Dabbs.
Charles Dodson settled on section 31, Mississippi township during 1828, where he resided several years. He was a son-in-law of Judge Lofton. He afterwards went to Greene county, where he died.
John Stafford settled in Rosedale township in 1828. He was well known to the early settlers, and died on the old homestead in 1865.
In 1828, William Starr, Coe Edsall, R. C. Baugh and James Perry made settlements in Rosedale township. James Perry moved from the county years ago, and Baugh, Starr and Edsall died here after lengthy residences.
Jesse C. Ennis first settled just west of Jerseyville in 1828, and afterward moved to Rosedale township, settling on section 16, near a spring of water. He and his wife died about 1833, and were buried in Rosedale cemetery, being the first interment therein. They were natives of Tennessee. Mr. Ennis, while a strictly honest, conscientious man, was rather noted in this locatlity for his aptitude for pretty tough yarns. One of these was, in describing the timber of this country, he said that he had cut down a sumach tree, from which he split out some fourteen joists for a house. At another time he related a long story about taking the fiddle and sitting down near some rocks commenced to paly, whereupon thousands of snakes came out of their dens, as they will, and that laying about with a club he killed some three thousand of them. Many other stories he did tell all dealing in the same exaggerations.
Gregg McDaniels and family settled in Otter Creek township in the spring of 1828, locating on section 7, where Charles McDaniels now lives.
In 1828 Jasper M. Terry, afterwards associate justice of this county, located on section 24 in Otter Creek township. He died in 1876.
Amos Lynn and Enoch Spaulding, in 1828, settled in what is now Rosedale township, where they lived many years.
Richard and Samuel Rhoads came to what is now Jersey county in 1828 and made settlements. Both these gentlemen were natives of Kentucky, and located in what is now Ruyle township.
John Hart made a settlement in English township in 1828, and in 1829 opened a small stock of goods in his cabin. He remained here a few years, when he left for other scenes.
W. D. F. Slaten made a settlement in the present township of Quarry in March 1829.
Ezekiel Chance, a North Carolinian, came to Jersey county from Madison county in 1829 and settled in Otter Creek township, but two years later settled in Richwoods township, where he died about 1879.
With Mr. Chance came Maurice Armstrong, who was in partnership with Mr. Chance, but in 1831 they dissolved this and moving to Richwoods, settled down as neighbors. Mr. Armstrong was a very prominent figure in the county in those early days. He moved form here to Montgomery county, but later to Girard, Macoupin county, where he died. His son is a prominent merchant in that city at present.
Elias and William Palmer made a settlement in what is now Ruyle township in 1829. They were from Vermont, of which state they were natives. William located on section 13. He died on this farm afterwards.
In 1829 Tarlton F. Brock settled on section 25 in Otter Creek township.
Elijah Brown made a settlement in Otter Creek in 1829. He afterwards moved to Greene county where he died.
During the years 1830-31, John D. Combs, David and George Settlemier, James Cummings, Benjamin J. Harrison, William Harrison and Joseph Andrews also made settlements in Piasa township in Jersey county, and are numbered among the gallant pioneers of this section of the state. John D. Combs has long been numbered with the dead. His widow married Levi McNeil. George and David Settlemier emigrated to Oregon. James Cummings moved to Montgomery county, locating in Litchfield.
A. L. Carpenter and wife settled on the site of the town of Jerseyville, purchasing the “Old Red House,” a stageing station, or inn, on the present site of the Cheney mansion.
James B. Pinckard, Levi McNeil, Jospeh Richardson and Samuel Clarke made settlement in what is now Piasa township in 1830, among the first in that section of the county.
William Phillips settled on section 25, Fidelity township, in 1830, where he resided some years. He has since died.
Rev. George Slaten made a settlement in this county in the spring of 1829. He was a minister of the M. E. church. He located in Mississippi township, where he resided until the day of his death in 1844.
Dr. Silas Hamilton was a settler of this county during 1830, coming to what is now Otter Creek township in the spring of that year. He was a practicing physician. He died in 1834.
James Derick and Solomon Dixon both made settlements near Otterville during 1830. The latter died in 1830; Derrick moved to Missouri. He was a member of Captain Carlin’s company of militia in the Black Hawk war.
James Richey came to Jersey county in 1836 and made a settlement in Ruyle township. He was a Kentuckian by birth.
William Hamiston, a brother of Dr. Silas Hamilton, with his three sons, came to Jersey county in the fall of 1830, and located on section 13, Otter Creek township. He died in 1846 in Calhoun county.
William Moore made a permanent settlement on section 20 in Jersey township in 1831, but came to the county two years earlier, living in Mississippi township until then. He was frozen to death during the winter of 1835-36.
The oldest living white child born in Jersey county was J. T. Grimes, commonly known as “Tram” Grimes. He was born Jan. 20, 1820, and is a son of Philip Grimes. J. T. now lives about one mile northwest of Jerseyville.
The first child born in the county is believed to have been a daughter of James and Julia Moffit, born in 1819. It lived only a short time, when it died.
The third white child born in Jersey county was Thomas Edward Carroll, son of Edward and Mary C. Wright Carroll. He was born Feb. 2, 1820, about three weeks after the birth of the second white child. He now lives near the east line of Macoupin county, not far from Litchfield, Ill.
The first death in the county was that of Thomas Carroll, which occurred in July or Aug. 1819. The family of his brother Edward had come to the county the year before and settled in what is now Elsah township. Thomas had been keeping store in St. Louis before coming here to live with his brother Edward. Not two months had elapsed after his arrival in the county, until he had contracted an illness which speedily resulted in his death. His body was placed in a skiff, and taken down to St. Louis for burial. He was the youngest brother of Edward Carroll.
The pioneer store of Jersey county was established in the latter part of 1829, at the foot of the bluff on which the town of Eminence was laid out, by Henry Mills, who had been running a store across the river at Portage des Sioux, in St. Charles county, Mo.
The second store was that of John Hart, in English township in 1829.
The third store in the county is believed to have been opened in 1830 by Woodbury Massey at Mason’s landing, but in 1831 moved to the forks of Otter Creek. He remained here but a short time when he moved to Galena, where he was wantonly murdered by two men by the name of Smith in September 1835. The cause of dispute was a lead mine that Massey was operating at the time. Henry L. Massey, a brother of Woodbury’s, shot the elder Smith down on the street, and Louisa Massey, a sister of the murdered man, arming herself, called Smith out of a store or saloon, discharged the pistol into his breast, and he likewise was called to his long account. Public opinion being in favor of Miss Massey, no action of any moment was taken by the authorities.
The first postoffice in what is now Jersey county was established at Eminence in Elsah township. Isaac N. Piggott was the first postmaster.
Tarlton F. Brock was the second postmaster in the county, having charge of Otter Creek postoffice.
Both Otter Creek and Eminence postoffices were discontinued, and one was established at Newbern, with Jacob Lurton as postmaster.
In 1821 John L. Evans built a grist and saw mill on the Macoupin creek on Sec. 33 or 34, T9, R13. This was a sash saw, and grist mill and had two run of five foot buhrs. One run of these buhrs is in C. C. Buzby’s mills in Fieldon at the present time. This on the authority of Moses Ward of the latter village.
William Kelley was the first person married in the county by a Catholic priest, the event occurring in 1839, Rev. Father Hamilton officiating.
First blacksmith shop in county by Josiah White on section 30, Mississippi township. Established about the year 1824.
Gregg McDaniel erected a grist mill run by water power in the county, and also the first saw mill. The saw mill was built in 1828, and was located on section 7, Otter Creek township, on the south bank of Otter creek. The grist mill was erected in the spring of 1830, on the opposite bank of the creek. The dam afterwards washed away, and as steam mills were then being built in this vicinity, the damage was not repaired, and the mills were allowed to go to decay.
The second grist mill erected actually within the present limits of Jersey county was that of Major Gershom Patterson. It stood right east of what is now known as the John Brown place, about two miles from Jerseyville, and was built in 1828. The grinding machinery was operated by a treadmill run by cattle. It would grind about 30 bushels per day. He had a small bolter, which turned by hand, but the wheat was generally not cleaned before grinding, and the bolter, working very slowly, the bran generally had to be separated from the flour by the customer himself after arriving at home.
The first brick house built in the county was that of Gershom Patterson. It was built about 1827 and was blown down by a wind storm in the spring of 1830.
The brick house of J. D. Gillham, built in 1828, was the second brick house in the county.
James Redden and Nancy Bates, then residents of what is now Jersey county, were one of the first couples in the early settlement to be married. Greene county, Jersey was then a part of Greene, had just been set off from Madison, and no court was yet organized in Greene. So Redden went to Edwardsville, got a license in Madison county, and then came back to get his intended bride. They traveled on horseback until sure they were in Madison county, then lighted a fire under a large tree and were there married by a justice of the peace. They then went back to Bates’ to live.
John Clark, a Baptist, was one of the early preachers. He went about on foot ministering to the spiritual wants of the pioneers. He is described as a tremendous tobacco chewer, though this in no wise interfered with his efficiency as a minister of the Gospel.