Upcoming Schedule

March 2-6- Salt Creek Township

March 9-13- Forest City Township

March 16- 20- Quiver Township

March 23-27- Manito Township

March 30-April 3- Lynchburg Township

April 6-10- Bath Township

April 13-17- Kilbourne Township

April 20-30 Mason City Township

May 4-8- Allen’s Grove

May 11-22- Havana Township





DAVID E. CRUSE, farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Teheran ; was born in Huntingdon Co., Penn , Nov. 1, 1833; his father, Augustus, was born in Cumberland Co. Penn., and married Elizabeth Rench ; they reside in Miami Co., Ohio, and have eight chil- dren living Joseph R., Lena M.,’David E., Luther C., Cinderella, George W., Demetrius A. and Roxanna N. In 1839, the family moved to Ohio ; David E. Cruse moved to Mason Co., where they now reside, in September, 1855, and married Hannah Touilin Nov. 30, 1856; she was born in Cumberland Co., N. J., Dec. 21, 1838, and came to Mason Co. with her parents in 1854. Mr. C. has been School Director most of the time, the last seventeen years, in Pennsylvania Township. They have had ton children Cinderella, born July 27, 1857, died Oct. 5, following; Caroline W., born Oct. 3, 1858 ; Matthew A., Feb. 1 1 , 1860 ; Hannah E., June 29, 1863 ; Margaret M., May 1, 1865; lloxanna B., July 4. 1867; David S., Feb. 1, 1869 ; John S., Jan. 7, 1871 ; Oraella, Jan. 18, 1873, and George I., Jan. 21, 1878. Mrs. Cruse’s father, Matthew Tomlin, was boro in Cumberland Co., N. J., May 30, 1803, and married Hannah Homer, of the same place ; he died in Mason Co. Feb. 22, 1873; she died Dec; 1, 1878, in the same place. Mr. Cruse owns a well-improved farm of 160 acres. ID politics, he is a Democrat.

ANDREW J. GATES, grain merchant, farmer and stock-raiser, Teheran ; was born near Hillsboro, Coffee Co., Tcnn., Sept. 28, 1833 ; came to Jefferson Co., 111., with his parents, in 1834 ; they moved to Greene Co., Mo., the same year, remaining two years, then moved Hamilton Co., 111., where his parents remained; his father, James L., was. born in Alabama Aug. 14, 1809, and married Nancy Shelton Jan. 7, 1831 ; she was born in Virginia Jan. 9, 1808. He died Aug. 10, 1846 ; she, Oct. 3, 1876. A. J. Gates, the subject of this sketch, came to Mason Co. Oct. 16, 1854, but spent the next winter in Fulton Co.; the next fall, commenced farming, and has followed the business ever since; he bought land in Pennsylvania Township, where he now resides, in 1858, near Teheran. In 1874, was elected Justice of the Peace ; still officiates. ‘ August 24, 1855, he married Emily 0. Scovil, daughter of Pulaski Scovil, of Salt Creek Township ; she was born in Havana, Mason Co., Nov. 26, 1838. They have had twelve children Clara I., born Sept. 9, 1856 ; Anna A., Nov. 6, 1858 ; Mary E., Nov. 24, 1860 ; Lillie E., Nov. 14, 1862 ; William S., Feb. 10, 1865, died Nov. 21, 1866 ; Joseph A., born Feb. 8, 1867 ; Charles I., Feb. 17, 1869 ; Walter J., Feb. 13, 1871 ; Effie May, April 19, 1873; Olive A., April 3, 1875; Ada J.. May 3, 1877, and Jessie M., Jan. 20, 1879. He owns 249 acres of land, and a fine home and outbuildings in Teheran. In politics, he is a Republican.

MRS. MARY ANN DOLCATER, farming; P. 0. Easton ; widow of Henry E. Dolcater, deceased ; he was born in Bielsfield, Germany, Sept. 23, 1832, and came to this county in September, 1856, and settled in Mason Co., and followed farming and stock-raising until his decease, which occurred April 12, 1879. He married Mrs. Mary A. Samuell Aug. 23, 1859; she w.is bom in Sangamon Co., 111., Feb. 13, 1833; her father, William Pelham, was born in Connecticut Nov. 27, 1797, and married Almira Phelps, of the S;ime State; she was born Sept. 3, 1803; they moved to Illinois in 1824; she died Dec. 6, 18H4; he died Nov. 13, 1863. Mary Ann, the subject of this sketch, married (first husband) Thomas A. Samuell Aug. 23, 1856; he was born in Caroline Co., Va., March 1, 1807, and came to Illinois in 1835, from Kentucky; by this marriage was one boy William Thomas; he was born Oct. 1, 1857, and died Jan. 20, 1860. Henry E. Dolcater was elected in April, 1874, Supervisor, and served two years. Mr. and Mrs. Dolcater have five boys Henry C., born Aug. 23, 1861 ^ William C., Dec. 6, 1863; Franklin J., Aug. 25, 1865 ; Edward H., Oct. 11, 1867; Charles F., March 24, 1870. che owns 164 acres of fine prairie, and a beautiful home in Pennsylvania Township, where she resides.

HULDAU DORRELL, farming; P. 0. Easton; widow of Francis Dorrell, deceased; he was born in McKey.sport, Penn., Feb. 1, 1808. and moved to Hamilton Co., Ohio, with his parents, in 1H^2, and married Huldah Dcnman Feb. 23, 1832 ; she was born in Hamilton Co., Ohio, Sept. 30, 1806; her father, Nathaniel Denman, was born in New Jersey Aug. 29, 1780, and married Susanna Crow in June, 1802; she was born in Pennsylvania in 1782, and died Feb. 11, 1811 ; he died March 16, 1836, in Hamilton Co., Ohio. Mr. Dorrell was subject to heart disease and consumption, but was called to the sick-bed of his son, who was in the U. S. Army Hospital, at Bolivar, Tenn.; he arrived there only in time to close his eyes in death ; attended his funeral, and on his return, himself worn by excitement and overcome by grief, succumbed to the inevitable, in Havana, even before he reached his home ; they have had ei-ht children Susanna C., born Nov. 20,1832; Saiah H., Aug. 18, 1835; Mary A., Aug. 26, 1837 ; John M., Sept. 22, 1835 enlisted in the Federal army, in 1861, and died of camp disease, at Bolivar, Tenn., Dec. 6, 1862; Charles C., born Oct. 30, 1841 ; David D., Sept. 27, 1844 ; Rebecca, April 11, 1847. died April 5, following; Lauretta, born March 24, 1848, died July 5, following. Susanna C. married William C. Thompson in December, 1860; he was born in England Aug. 10, 1821, died July 29, 1873, in Wyoming Territory; they had four children Francis D., born Oct. 13,’ 1861 ; Caroline, Jan. 16, 1865, died Aug. 4, following; Andrew, born Aug. 23, 1867, died at the age of 3 weeks and 3 days; and Richard, born Aug. 15, 1872. Mrs. Dorrell owns 160 acres of excellent prairie land, of which she has been sole and successful manager since her husband’s decease now at the age of 73, in the possession of good health and remarkable vigor and wonderful memory of every event in her eventful life.

JOSEPH FINK, farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Teheran ; was born in Luzerne Co., Penn., June i3, 1832 ; except two years that he was employed clerking in a store, has followed farming ; he came to Pennsylvania Township, where he now resides, in 1856. He married Angeline Benscoter Dec. 2, 1855, in Luzerne Co., Penn., where she was born Aug. 4, 1836; her father, Jacob Benscoter, was born July 7, 1804, and married Jane Moss, in March, 1826; she was born April 2, 1807, and died July 1, 1866, in Mason City, where Mr. B. now resides. Mr. and Mrs. Fink have had nine children Walker B., born Dec. 7, 1856, and married Fannie Johnson Dec. 22, 1877, and moved to Kansas City July 15 ,1879 ; Emma L. J., born Sept. 22, 1858 ; Derie It., March 18, 1860; Porter H., Sept. 19, 1861; Lot, Nov. 22, 1863, died March 23, 1867; Harvey D., born Sept. 15, 1865; Jacob B., April 6, 1873; Arthur S., March 17, 1875, and Joseph M., Sept. 29, 1876. Mr. and Mrs. Fink are members of the M. E. Church, and the four eldest children of the Society of United Brethren. He owns a good farm of 125 acres good house and outbuildings.

ANDKEAS FURRER, farmer and stock -raiser; P. 0. Easton ; was born in Baden, Germany, Oct. 24, 1839; he landed in New Oilcans in June, and in Havana, Mason Co., July 3, 1853, with his parents ; he has made farming his business ; in 1863, bought eighty acres in Pennsylvania Township, where he now resides. Dec. 30, 1860, he married Mary Ann Dorrell ; she was born in Sangamon Co., 111., Aug. 26, 1837; she is a daughter of Francis and Iluldah Dorrell (see biography of Huldah Dorrell, widow). In June, 1876, Mr. Furrer concluded to take a vacation, by a grand excursion to the Centennial Exposition,, in Philadelphia, and a visit to his old home in Germany, visiting all the principal cities on the route, including Paris, the capital of France. On his return, Mrs. Furrer meeting him at Philadelphia, they visited points of interest on their return to the West ; they have six children Huldah D., born Dec. 11, 1861 ; John D., March 13, 1865; Nathaniel D., June 10, 1867; Sarah E., Dec. 5, 1869; Susanna C., June 22, 1872, and Francis D., Feb. 5, 1875. He owns 440 acres of land, and a fine house, barn and outbuildings.

JAMES I. HURLEY, firmer and stock-raiser; P. O.Teheran; was born in Ocean Co., N. J., June 11, 1836 ; there he followed the business of burning charcoal ; they moved to Mason Co., 111., in the fall of 1852 ; his father, Aaron Hurley, died on board a boat, on their Way West, with the cholera, and was buried on Liberty Island, just below St. Louis. (See biography of Christopher Titus.) After they came to Mason Co., Mr. James I. Hurley worked at farming by the month or day, until March 1861, when he purchased eighty acres of improved land, where he now resides, in Pennsylvania Township. He married Emma J. Riggs March 11, 1869 ; she was born in Orange Co., N. C., May 30, 1850, and came to Mason Co. Oct. 28, 1868; they have had seven children Maggie E., born Feb. 17, 1870 ; Sybil P., March 18, 1871 ; Olive M., May 29, 1872 (died July 18 following) ; Petro N., Oct. 25, 1873; Lena F., Sept. 12, 1874; Bertha V., Jan. 5, 1877; Royal E., June 8, 1878. He owns 140 acres of land, a good house and barn, and outbuildings, which he has erected since 1867.

JOHN W. PUGH, Supervisor, farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Mason City ; was born in Plymouth, Luzerne Co., P.enn., Aug. 5, 1824. His father owned a large farm, a grist and saw mill, which gave him plenty of miscellaneous and general employment while at home. lie moved to Mason Co. (Havana Township) in 1850 ; entered eighty acres of land that fall, in Section 27, Township 22, Range 7, and has since followed farming, mainly, though during the year of 1854, was captain of a boat running between Havana and Chicago, on the Illinois River. June 8, 1854, he married Miss Sarah Apple, daughter of Maj. Henry Apple, of Fulton Co., 111. She was born in Clermont Co., Ohio, Aug. 7, 1827. Mr. Pugh was elected Supervisor in April, 1866, and has held the office ever since, except two years that he was in the State Legislature, to which he was elected in November, 1874. They have had six children Henry A., born Feb. 22, 1855 ; Mary E., Nov. 21, 1856 ; Charles W., Sept. 7, 1859 ; George B., Oct 22, 1861 ; Clara E., April 19, 1864; John F., born July 29, 1867, died Aug. 26, 1868. He owns a fine home, and 343 acres of land. They belong to the Presbyterian Church. In politics, Mr. Pugh is a Democrat.

GEORGE W. SCOVILL, farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Mason City. “Yankee” was born in Litchfield Co., Conn., Oct. 31, 1837 ; moved to Adams Co., 111., in 1857 ; worked by the month for wages about four years ; he then returned to his old home, but returned, in August, to Mason Co., and leased 200 acres of new unbroken prairie, of Harvey Scovill, for five years. In 1865, he bought a farm, where he now resides. He married a daughter of Pulaski Scovil, of Salt Creek Township Mrs. Maria L. Paul, April 17, 1867. She was born in February, 1833, and married Thomas E. Paul Sept. 6, 1854, who was born Feb. 13, 1830, and died at Nashville, Tenn. (in the Federal army), of typhoid fever, Dec. 8, 1861. They had three children Sarah E., born May 9, 1856, died April 2, 1862 ; Fantley R., born April 6, 1858 ; Stephen A., born Dec. 25, 1860, died Dec. 25, 1862. Mr. George W. Scovill’s father, John W., was born in Litchfield Co., Conn., and married Martha Wilson, of the same county; died March 4, 1863. She resides on the old homestead, in Connecticut. After his father died, Mr. Scovill rented his farm out, and returned to farm a portion of the old homestead, but soon tired of his efforts to obtain wealth from the little earth distributed among the rocks of Connecticut, and gladly returned to his rural Western home. They have had four children George W., born Feb. 3, 1867 ; Mary L., born Feb. 14, 1869, died Au2. 17, 1872 ; Addie L., born Sept. 27, 1871 ; Martha C., born Nov. 22, 1876, died March 4, 1877. He owns a fine farm of 230 acres, a new house, cost $2,000, and tine outbuildings, also a house and two lots in Mason City, and began life in the West without a dollar of his own.

CHRISTOPHER TITUS, farmer ; P. O. Mason City; was born in Luzerne Co., Penn., Aug. 25, 1832, where he worked at farming, carpentering, boating, etc. ; moved to Mason Co. in August, 1852. The next spring, he bought eighty acres in Salt Creek Township, where he resided a year ; after that, lived in Havana and Quiver Townships ; moved on to his farm where he now resides, in Pennsylvania Township, in February, 1867. He married Mary Jane Hurley Nov. 23, 1858 ; she was born in Ocean Co., N. J., Aug. 15, 1830. Her father, Aaron Hurley, married Fannie Dennis; they both were born in New Jersey; he died Oct. 2, 1852, with cholera, on board a boat while on their way to the West, and was buried on Liberty Island, just below St. Louis ; he was born Nov. 21, 1803. She was born Feb. 18, 1804, and now resides near Mr. Titus. Mr. and Mrs. Titus have had six children James, born Oct. 12, 1859 ; Halleck S., Oct. 9, 1862 ; Margaret and Fannie, April 24, 1865 ; Sarah, born Jan. 26, 1868, died Dec. 1, 1874, and Mary A., born Aug. 11, 1871. Mr. Titus is a member of the society of United Brethren in Christ. He owns 160 acres of land in Pennsylvania Township.

JOHN VAN HORN, farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Mason City; was born in Bucks Co., Penn., Sept. 16. 1816 ; his father, David, was born in the same county March 27, 1781, and married Sarah Gillen ; she was born Aug. 11, 1786. They moved to Warren Co., Ohio, and then to Miami Co., Ohio ; he died there in September, 1854 ; she died in Wabash Co., Ind., in August, 1870. John Van Horn, the subject of this sketch, learned the business of stone-cutting in Miami Co., Ohio, and” followed the business a number of years. He married Jane Mathers Dec. 24, 1840 ; she was born in Hamilton Co., Ohio. Sept. 8, 1822 ; her father, David L., was born in the same county Nov. 15, 1797, and married Margaret Williams March 22, 1821; she was born in New Jersey July 1, 1798; he died in Miami Co. Sept. 11, 1850, and she died near Mason City, Mason Co., 111., Jan. 24, 1875. John Van Horn, the subject of this sketch, moved to Mason Co., where he now resides, in the spring of 1857, has been Justice of the Peace, but, after serving two years declined a renomination, preferring to give his whole attention to his farming interests. They have had ten children David P., born Feb. 4, 1842 ; Sarah J., Oct. 16, 1844 ; John E., Nov. 11, 1846 ; Margaret, March 16, 1849 ; Joel, May 20, 1851 ; Martha A., April 17, 1854; Elizabeth, July 31, 1856 ; Susan, Jan. 6, 1859; Job, June 15, 1861, died April 3, 1867 ; and Miles, born Oct. 17, 1863. He owns 723 acres of land, a fine house and outbuildings and reads and writes without glasses.

EDWARD WILSON, farmer and stock -raiser ; P. 0. Mason City; was born in Pennsylvania June 4, 1812; moved with his parents to Greene Co., Ohio, when he was about a year old ; his father, George Wilson, married Annis Ashcraft ; they were born in Pennsylvania; he died in Greene Co., Ohio, in 1820 ; Mrs. Wilson, with her children, Edward, John and James, in 1823, moved to Madison Co., Ohio, and, in 1836, to Tazewell Co., 111., near Pekin, where she died in January, 1840. Edward Wilson, the subject of this sketch, married Rebecca Woodrow March 3,1846; she was b,orn in Licking Co., Ohio, Aug. 4, 1823. Her father, Samuel Woodrow, was born in Pennsylvania Jan. 6, 1789, and married Catharine Montanye ; she was born in New Jersey Sept. 7, 1798, and died Nov. 10, 1863; he died Dec. 12, 1874; both are buried in Cincinnati Township, Tazewell Co., 111., where they lived ; they were among the first settlers of Ellison’s Prairie in Illinois, in 1824 ; they moved to Tazewell Co. in 1825. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have had ten children Samuel W., born Jan. 9, 1847, died Dec. 20, 1851 ; Amelia, born Sept. 17, 1848, died Nov. 3 following; Malvina, born March 24, 1850; Catharine, March 2, 1853 ; John A., Sept. 24, 1854; Charles W., Jan 31, 1856; Mary E. and Cornelius R., Aug. 25, 1858; Mary E. died Jan. 25,1859; Annabel!, born Oct. 21, 1861 ; and a little girl unnamed. He owns a fine house and outbuildings and 446 acres of land.

History of Teheran and Pennsylvania Township

Dr. J. P. Walker, now a prominent physician of Mason City, was among the first to practice the healing art in the township. The first death among the settlers of this section was doubtless that of Mrs. James Wandel, whose decease occurred at the residence of her son, Jimison H. Wandel, in the spring of 1854. The wife of Joseph Cease died a few months later. We have not placed these facts, the appearance of the physician in, and the coming of death to the settle- ment, in juxtaposition in our history, in order that the inference may be readily drawn that the debut of the medicine-man in a community necessarily augurs the speedy demise of some of its members, and lest some noble and devoted disciple of Esculapius might feel aggrieved at the order of facts given, we here enter our disclaimer to any such intention. And” yet the sight of a doctor always suggests to our mind the idea of disease, sickness and death.

The first to enter the connubial relation was Jimison H. Wandel, whose marriage to Sarah E. Depue was celebrated in the fall of 1852. Many others have since been married and given in marriage, as is common throughout the length and breadth of this goodly land. Whose was the first birth in the township cannot now be definitely ascertained. That there have been first-born males and first-born females in many families of this section, is fully evidenced by the fact that bright-eyed lads and lasses render joyous and gladsome the hearts of parents in many a household. Among the early Justices of the Peace in this quarter, the invincible Jimison H. Wandel leads the list. He was called upon to discharge the functions of this important, though often belittled office, as early as 1858. He was also commissioned the first Justice for the township after its organization. As originally set off, it contained a large portion of what is now included in Sherman Township, two sections of Forest City and four of Manito. Altogether, it embraced fifty-eight full sections. In 1867, it was reduced to its present limits.

The political complexion of the township has always been Democratic. Whenever a strict party vote has been cast, she has never given forth any uncertain sound, but has always raised her voice lustily for the Democratic party. During the “late on pleasantness ” she furnished her full quota of war-boys to the rank and file of the army, and was . at no time subjected to a draft. Taken throughout its whole extent, it compares favorably with the adjacent townships as an agricultural district. The low or marshy lands, when a little more effectually drained, will constitute the most productive portions within its limits.

VILLAGE OF TEHERAN. This village is situated in the southwest corner of the township, and is a station on the C., H. & W. R. R,, about seven miles west of Mason City. It was laid out in 1873, on land belonging to Alexander Blunt. Soon after the village was located, A. J. Gates put up a building and opened a grocery store. D. L. Whitney at one time had a good general store, but has not been numbered among her merchants for some years past. David Everett at present operates the only general store in the place. The post office was established in 1874, with W. T. Rich as first Postmaster. The present incumbent is David Everett. A warehouse, built some years previous, was, in 1876, converted into an elevator by Low, McFadden & Simmons. The amount of grain handled here, annually, ranges from 75,000 to 125,000 bushels. A neat frame church was erected by the United Brethren society in 1878. The society is small, but in a growing and prosperous condition. A blacksmith and general repair shop completes the list of its business enterprises. Its population does not exceed thirty souls, and yet, unimportant as it is when compared with villages of a larger growth, it is, nevertheless, a convenience to the neighborhood as a point for the shipment of their produce, and at which daily mails are received. It is hardly to be expected that it will ever exceed its present limits, as its proximity to Mason City on the one hand and Easton on the other, will continually act as checks to its further development.

This is PART TWO


 During the spring and summer of 1853, we find the following settlers added to the list already given: George W. and Alexander Benscoter, William Legg, Asa Gregory, D. V. Benscoter and Joseph Statler. The Benscoters and Gregory were from Pennsylvania, Statler from the Buckeye State and Legg from Cass County, Hoosierdom. Legg entered the land pre-empted by J. H. Wandel, and made an improvement in the summer of 1853. The summer following, he sold out to George W. and Alexander Benscoter. Asa Gregory settled in the northwest corner of the township, remained a few years, then sold out and returned East. Joseph Statler settled in the south part, a short distance north of the present village of Teheran, on land now owned by J. McClung and J. H. Matthews. The records of the county show that he (Statler) was chosen Assessor in 1858 and 1859. He was also ex-offi- cio County Treasurer, as these two offices were combined in one prior to the adoption of township organization, in 1862. A man of strict integrity and fine business abilities, it is needless to say that in these positions of public trust his duties were promptly, faithfully and ably performed. Some years since, he became a resident of Mason City, and the citizens of that thriving and prosperous city, recognizing his worth, have honored him with’ the office of City Judge. D. V. Benscoter located on Section 26, east of Statler’s, and, with many others of the family, is still a citizen of the township. Jack Conroy, from Ohio, made an improvement in the summer of 1854 on the southeast corner of the school section, where James Hurley at present resides. 


About the same date, Daniel and James Riner and David E. Cruse became citizens of the township. In 1856, J. Phink, from the Keystone State, made a farm in the south part of the township, and was soon followed by Jacob Benscoter, his father-inlaw, who located in the same vicinity. While very many of the early settlers have passed over the river, to the land of shadows, many of their descendants remain citizens, and not a few occupy the farms entered and improved by their fathers. Of others who became citizens of the county prior to 1860, and located in this township, we find the names of Andreas Furrer, A. J. Gates, Alexander Blunt, Charles Hadsall, J. L. Ingersoll, T. L. Kindle, Joel Severns, W. K. Terrell and John Van Hoon. Furrer was from Germany, and settled near the western limits of the township. Gates was from Tennessee, and Blunt from Kentucky. They both settled on Section 32, where they at present reside. Hadsall, Severns and Van Hoon were from Pennsylvania ; Ingersoll, from Ohio ; Kindle and Terrell, from New Jersey. Ingersoll settled in the northwest corner of the township, and the remainder in the central and eastern portions, except Terrell, who located in the southwest corner, on Section 30. 


From the year 1860 forward, changes occurred so frequently, by removals and new arrivals, that any attempt to point out the order in which citizens came in and took up their residence would necessarily be a vain and useless task. John W. Pugh, a citizen of later date, has been so prominently identified with her interests as to be worthy of more than a passing notice. He is mentioned as having come to the county in 1850. He did not locate in Pennsylvania Township until 1864, since which time he has served his fellow -citizens eleven years, in the capacity of Supervisor. He is the present incumbent, and his influence and sound judgment have much to do in the legislation of the affairs of the county. In 1874, he was chosen a member of the General Assembly, and here his influence was felt, and his votes stand recorded creditably to himself and his constituents. His entire official career has been a!ike creditable to his head and heart. The earliest settlers of Pennsylvania Township were not wholly exempt from the inconveniences and difficulties which are ever attendant companions to those who pioneer the way in the settlement and improvement of a new country. 


The snorting of the iron horse had not at that date been heard within the limits of the county. Mason City and the villages in the eastern and southern part of the county had not yet been born. Havana was the only point for the shipment and sale of their extra produce. A large and, for the most part of the year, impassable swamp lay between them and it. In order to ” fetch ” their grain to market, the unloading and reloading of it five or six times was by no means an unusual occurrence. So accustomed to miring did teams become that the moment a halt was made, even though it might be on solid ground, they would lie down, through fear of finding the bottom some distance below the surface if they remained standing. Much of the early settler’s time was consumed in marketing his produce, and the feat of crossing the swamp successfully with a good full load could only be accomplished during the severity of winter. Those coming in since the era of railroads in different portions of the county know but little, by experience, of the difficulties and trials that the set- tlers of 1849 and the early fifties endured.- Their early milling was done on the Mackinaw, and, of later years, at Simmonds’ and McHarry’s, on Quiver. Their nearest post office was Havana, distant some fifteen or eighteen miles. The township has never had a post office established within its limits, save the one at present existing at Teheran. No grist-mill, so far as we have been advised, has ever been erected in any portion of it. 


SCHOOLS, CHURCHES, ETC. The first settlers by no means neglected the intellectual culture of their children, and so we find that as soon as a half a dozen families were located in the same neighborhood, a temple of learning was erected. The first schoolhouse in this part was built on Pennsylvania Lane in 1853 or 1854. Miss Martha Randall is credited with being the first teacher. At present there are seven school districts in this township, each supplied with a good frame building, and the annual amount expended for educational purposes compares favorably with that of surrounding sections. The earliest ministers in this part of the moral vineyard were Revs. Mowrey, Randall and Sloan. They were ministers in the M. E. Church. The early meetings were held in the schoolhouse. After a few years, through the death and removal of members, the society became so reduced in numbers that the field was abandoned, and remained unoccupied till 1873, when the Presbyterians organized a society and erected a church building. What is known as the Pennsylvania Presbyterian Church was built in the fall of the last mentioned year. It is a neat frame building with arched ceiling, 30×40 feet, and cost, at the time of its construction, $2,150. Rev. S. J. Bogle was the first Pastor, and gave his first year’s labor to the church free of charge. While his regular labor is with the Church in Mason City, he still continues to preach for this congregation on stated occasions. The early communicants of the Church were John Vanhorn, wife and daughter, Mrs. M. J. Cavern, John W. Pugh and wife, and Mrs. Mary Pottorf. The present membership numbers about thirty. A few members of the Baptist Church are resi- dents of the neighborhood, and Rev. Mr. Hobbs, of Mason City, discourses to them on the second Sunday of each month in this building. This is the only church building in the township outside of the village of Teheran.

Two townships have been complete and this week (Monday through Thursday) I will feature the history of Pennsylvania Township. Enjoy!


Pennsylvania Township

On the 27th of October, 1682, there arrived upon the coast of Delaware Bay, a man whose life and character have been handed down from generation to generation as worthy of emulation and imitation. He was noted not only for the purity and rectitude of his life, but also for his integrity of purpose toward his own countrymen, as well as toward the uncouth and barbarous savage, whose happy hunting-grounds he came to reclaim from their native wildness, and transform into a great and growing province. He came as the proprietor of a vast landed estate, and soon had the satisfaction of gathering around him a large colony that was peaceful, prosperous and happy, almost beyond example. He was at once governor, magistrate, preacher, teacher and laborer. The early prosperity and rapid development of the Quaker State was largely owing to the pacific principles adopted in the beginning, and firmly adhered to by its founder and father, William Penn. To the descendants of its early settlers, the section of Mason County of which we are about to write is indebted for its earliest citizens. Pennsylvania Township is designated as Town 21 north, Range 6 west of the Third Principal Meridian, and is bounded on the north by Forest City and Manito Townships; east, south and west, respectively, by Allen’s Grove, Salt Creek and Sherman Townships. It contains thirty-six full sections, and is one of the two townships of Mason County that exactly coincide with the Congressional survey. Throughout its entire extent it is prairie land. The southern half of the township is rather elevated, while the northern half is low and level. A county ditch crosses the northern portion, through which much of the surface-water of the adjacent bnd finds an outlet. The C., H. & W. R. R. crosses the southwestern corner of the township, its extent from point of entrance to exit being about four miles. Teheran, a station on the road, is located on Section 32, and is the only village in the township. 


FIRST SETTLEMENT. While permanent settlements did not begin to be made, prior to the year 1849, in this township, still, as early as the fall of 1844, one adventurous spirit was found within its limits. Ambrose Edwards, from Kentucky, made a squatter’s improvement in what was Red Oak Grove, at the date above mentioned. He was the first to erect his log cabin and begin the cultivation of the soil. The grove in which he located was near the center of the township, but has long since faded from view. It was of small extent, perhaps one mile in length by one-half in width, and was consumed by the earliest settlers while most of it was held by pre-emption right by non-resident parties. Francis Dorrell, who had been a resident of the State since 1835, came from Sangamon County and settled on Section 31, in 1849. His was doubtless the second improvement in HISTORY OF MASON COUNTY. 681 the township. His widow is still a resident. When he settled, not a human habitation was visible on the north, east or west. Stretching away in the dis- tance, visions were sometimes caught, at sunset, of the village of Delavan, twenty-five miles away. Near the same date, William Briggs settled a short distance from where the village of Teheran now stands, but whence he came or whither he went, no one at present living there is able to say. Peter Speice, from Ohio, came early in 1850, and located on Section 20, and was shortly afterward followed by George Sweigert, his father-in-law, who settled in the same locality. They both made improvements, and, after a few years’ residence, sold out and moved to Mackinaw in Tazewell County. A year or two later, quite an influx of population was added to the citizenship of this section from the Keystone State. The settlement became so large in a few years, and the additions made were so uniformly from the same section of country, to the exclusion of almost all others, that it early acquired the distinction of Pennsylvania Settlement, a name yet in use to designate a certain portion of the township. In the fall of 1848, Henry Cease, from Luzerne County, Penn., came and stopped a short time in Havana. He soon purchased a farm and engaged in agricultural pursuits. During the spring and summer of 1851, Joseph and Abraham Cease, Jimison H. Wandel, John W. Pugh and Benedict Hadsall all came in from the same section of country. The Ceases were men of family, while Wandel, Pugh and Hadsall were single men. All were in what is now Havana Township a short time.


 In December, 1851, Henry Cease, J. H. Wandel and Abraham Cease went east across Crane Marsh to explore the country, and, on reaching Section 22, in what is now Pennsylvania Township, determined to locate and begin the making of their farms. They each entered a quarter- section and pre-empted the same amount. During the summer of 1852, Abraham and Joseph Cease each built a frame house and began opening up their farms. In April of the same year, Pugh, with whom the climate did not seem to agree, and who had disabled himself by hard work, prevailed upon Wandel to accompany him back to his former home. Wandel, whose favorable impressions of the great and growing West had led him to write back such glowing accounts of the country to his kinsmen, found, to his utter astonishment, upon the day of his arrival, a sale in progress at his father’s and uncle’s, both of whom, with their families, were on the eve of starting for Mason County. After a short sojourn among his native hills, in company with James Wandel, his father, Isaac Honeywell, a brother-in-law, George Wandel, an uncle, and their families, he again turned his face westward. The entire journey was made by water, and the time consumed in coming from Pittsburgh to Havana was seven weeks. With bright hopes and eager expectations of what their future Western homes would soon be, these families had severed the ties that bound them to their native land, to battle with the thousand difficulties incident to pioneer life. But alas for human expectations, the shadow of a great grief accompanied them on their journey. 


The decease of Mrs. Honeywell, who had sickened on the way, occurred on the very night of their landing at Havana. Heart-broken and discouraged, with the care of five small children upon his hands, Isaac Huneywell, with J. H. Wandel as a companion, retraced the course so lately passed over. For a time, at least, it seemed that Wandel was destined to belong only to the floating population of the county. During his stay in Pennsylvania, he prepared himself more fully for citizenship in Illinois by taking as a helpmeet Sarah E. Depue, and, in the fall of 1852, with his father-in-law, Aaron Depue, and family, he again came to Mason County. In the summer of 1853, he erected his house and improved forty acres of his farm. He remained a citizen of the township until a few years ago, when he became a citizen of Mason City, in which he at present resides. The others mentioned all settled in the eastern portion of the county, though not all in Pennsylvania Township. Phillip Cease came to the county in 1852, and settled south of Wandel on Section 22. George Wandel purchased an improved farm on which he settled near where the village of Teheran now stands. This, doubtless, was the farm owned and occupied by William Briggs, whose early settlement has already been noted. James Wandel entered and improved a farm on Section 27. James Depue and his family, consisting of George, Henry, James, Jr., Moses, Isaac and one daughter, Mary, settled just across the line, in what is now Salt Creek Township.


Check out my blog tomorrow as I delve into the genealogy of my family and that of my wife with

Finding Family Friday for  “Grandma Got Hanged!”




JESSE BAKER (deceased), farmer ; Mr. Baker was one of the first white settlers of Mason Co.; he was born in Tennessee in 1799, and came to Illinois Territory
in 1816 and settled in what is now Morgan Co., and, in 1833, located in Mason Co.,
where he passed the remainder of his life. He has had a varied experience ; possessed
of an unusually vigorous and robust frame, he endured the privations and hardships of
pioneer life, the chase of the deer aid the defense against the noble red m^n, which
few could endure ; he has fought the Indians from tree to tree ; was contemporary with
Ross and Scovill, of Havana, and others ; he engaged in farming upon Crane Creek;
near where he and his descendants have resided for nearly half a century ; he raised ninety bushels of corn per acre and sold supplies to Mr. Faulkner, the first farmer
of Sherman Township. His descendants are among the substantial residents of the
county. -Upon Aug. 20, 1879, Jesse Baker passed down the dark valley at the age of
80 years. He was a man esteemed very highly for his many noble traits of character, and one of whom his contemporaries will admit that his life was net a failure and he
did not live in vain ; he was an intimate friend of Abraham Lincoln, in the rafting and
old Salem days of the latter. He was the father of Mrs. R. W. Porter, of Mason City, who was with him several days before and up to the time of his death.

GEORGE W. ESTEP, farmer; P. 0. Kilbourne; was born at Baker’s Prairie, across the river from Petersburg, Menard Co., 111., March 6, 1823 ; his father, James
Estep, and his grandfather, Elijah Estep, were the first owners of the land Petersburg
is built on. George W. Estep commenced farming on his own account in Mason Co.,
in 1848. He married Cynthia Norris Aug. 2, 1849; she was born in Greene Co., 111., May 8, 1828, and came with her parents to Mason Co. in 1835 ; they have had eight
children Finis M., Rhoda K., William II., Celia J. and Alvin are living; Celestia died aged 8 days ; James A. died in his 13th year ; Mary died in her 18th year ; Finis and Rhoda are married ; the others reside at home with their parents. He owns a farm of 130 acres in this and Kilbourne Townships. Himself, wife and three children, are members of the Baptist Church.

WM. J. ESTEP; farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Easton ; was born in Menard
Co., 111., Jan. 4, 1831 ; went with his parents to Ja>per Co., M)., in the spring of 1839,
and in 1844, to Davis Co., Iowa, and to McDonough Co., 111., in 1846, and to Crane
Creek Township in 1848, where he has since resided ; his father, James Estep, and his grandfather,- Elijah Estcp, were the first owners of the land on which Petersburg, Menard Co., is built; they went there in the spring of 1820. The subject of this sketch married Miss Judith Toiulin July 26, 1855 ; she was born in Cumberland Co.,
N. J., Jan. 23, 1835, and came to Mason Co. with her parents, in February, 1846.
Mr. Estep has never taken any very active part in politics, but has held some Township
offices, School Trustee, Commissioner of Highways and Supervisor one year, etc. ; He owns 362 acres of land and a fine home.

DAVID C. ESTEP, farmer ; P. 0. Kilbourne ; was born in Menard Co., 111., Nov. 7, 1838; went to Jasper Co., Mo., with his parents in the spring of 1839; in 1844, to Davis Co., Iowa, and to McDonough Co , 111., in 1846, and to Crane Creek
Township in 1848; his father, James Estep, died Feb. 5, 1857, and his mother, Feb.
9, 1855 ; his father and his grandfather were the first owners of land that Petersburg;
Menard Co., is built on. In 1857, the subject of this sketch left home and worked here
and there farming; he married Mary F. Baker, of Menard Co., Nov. 12, 1863 ; she was born May 10, 1846. They have four children living Etta M., Miles E , Misty
May, David F. Mr. E^tep commenced farming his own land in the .spring of 1865,
and moved on to the farm lie now owns (160 acres) in the spring of 1868.

JAMES M. ESTEP, farmer; P. 0. Havana; was bora in St. Clair Co., 111., Dec.
14, 1819 ; in the spring cf 1820, his father, James Estep, moved to the spot now occupied by Petersburg, Menard Co., and a year or two later, his grandfather, Elijah Estep, came there, and both made the necessary improvements to hold the land and enter claims
when it should be put on the market by the Government, and effected their purchase in 1827 ; so that the father and grandfather were the first owners of nearly all the land on which Petersburg was built. Mr. James M. Estep holds land grants over the signatures
of J. Q. Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, James K. Polk and Z. Taylor.
James Estep was born in North Carolina, Feb. 16, 1795, and died Feb. 5, 1857, in Crane Creek Township ; he married Abigail Teter, of Virginia, Dec. 31, 1816 ; she was bom Dec. 5, 1794, and died Feb. 9, 1855. James M. Estep’s school advantages were
little beyond what he taught himself ; he has always followed farming, and purchased
here in 1849; he married Mrs Maria F. Perkins, (Short) Feb. 14, 1858; she was born
in Menard Co., 111., June 12, 1835, and had two children by her first marriage Ed_car,
who died at the age of 10 years, Jame-< D., lives in Kilbourne Township ; her father was
burn in January, 1805, in Kentucky; her mother in St. Clair Co., 111., Dec. 28, 1808;
her father died Nov. 27, 1846, in Government service in the Mexican war. Mr. and
Mrs. Estep have had six children Sarah A., born Jan. 24, 1859 ; Dillard M.. S<<pt 13,
1862, died July 29, 1863; Carrie E. and Cordie C., born May 16, 1865; Ella J., Feb. 25, 1868, and Ida L., Feb. 4, 1871 ; Sarah J. married H. B. Samuell and lives in Crane Creek Township. Mr. Estep owns now 570 acres of land.

JAMES L. IIAWKS. farmer ; P. O. Easton ; was born in Green Co., Ky., Nov. 25. 1823, and moved to Mason Co. III., in the fall of 1849. At the age of 16 years, with
his father went down the Ohio and Mississippi River to market, with two flatboats loaded
with tobacco ; on their return, his father was stricken with fever, and died within sixty
miies of home. At the age of 19, he entered his uncle’s store in Adair Co., Ky., as
clerk, and remained between eight and nine years ; he then invested all his means in company with a horse buyer, and bought a drove of horses to sell in Mississippi, but was
left by his partner with only 880 in money and two horses. He had a sister living in Mason Co., III., where he decided to go and engage in firming, and has since remained.
He reached Crane Greek Township in the fall of 1849. Feb. 25, 1852, he married
Abigail Bale ; her father, Solomon Bale, was one among the first settlers of this township ; she was born Nov. 29, 1832, .in Green Co., Ky. They have ten children Mary
E., born Dec. 3, 1852; Nancy R., Dec. 13, 1854; William EL, Oct. 12. 1856 ; James
11., Nov. 18, 1858; Sophia, Feb. 3, 1861 ; Fielding T., Aug. 18, 1863; Solomon L., Jan. 21. 1866; George A., May 1, 1868; John C., Feb. 19. 1871 ; Ella M., May 7,
1873. The two oldest daughters and the oldest son arc married ; the rest are at home
with their parents. Mr. Hawks has been School Treasurer over twenty years, and was
the first Supervisor elected after the organization of Crane Creek Township ; has served
twelve years off and on, and was re-elected last April. He owns 710 acres in the
township. Is a m ‘inner of the Baptist Church.

ADAM LIST, farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Easton ; was born in Bedford Co.,
Penn., Jan. 27, 1835, and the following spring his parents moved to T,azewell Co., 111. Peoria, at that time, had no buildings except a few log cabins. He moved to Mason
Co. in the spring of 1861, and married Elizabeth Keil, of Taz<;well Co., Oct. 24, 1861 ; she was born Feb. 2, 1839. Her father, Bultz>r, and her mother, Catherine E. Keil, were born in Germany. Her father died Oct. 20, 1865; and her mother resides in Tazewcll Co. Louis List and Catharine (Gable), parents of the subject of this sketch, were
al<o burn in Germany; his father died in October, 1847, near Peoria, and hi* mother
still resides there. Mr. and Mrs. Adam List have six children Charles F., born Aug.
15, 1862; Julia E., Oct. 2, 1864; Louis A., Jan. 1, 1867; Ezra J., Oct. 26, 1869 ; Catharine M., Nov. 23, 1871 ; Matilda M. M., Aug. 15, 1875. He owns 310 acres, and a building lot in Mason City.

GEORGE S. McCLlNTICK, farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Easton; was born
in Augusta Co., Va., Sept. 12, 1835 ; came with his parents to Tazewell Co., 111., in the
spring of 183(5. His father, Robert McClintick, and his mother, Mary (Arganbright), were born in Virginia; his father died in March, 1851. Mr. McClintick married Mrsr Sarah Jane (Somers) Perdue, of Illinois, Nov. 8, 1858. They have two boys living
Cyrus E., born Oct. 4, 1859, and Milton S., born May 16, 1863. He owns 289 acre* of land

JAMES TURNER, farmer; P. 0. Easton; was born in Muhlenburg Co., Ky.,
May 28, 1815, and came to Menard Co., 111., in the fall of 1854. He married Martha
A. Hall, of Mason Co., 111., Oct. 29, 1875; her father, George W. Hall, was born in Virginia, and her mother, Nancy M. (Short), was born in Menard Co. Berry Turner,
father of the subject of ‘his sketch, was born in Buckingham Co., Va., and his mother,
Susanna (Strader), in North Carolina, Feb. 11, 1806, and resides in this township;
Berry Turner moved with his family to Menard Co. in 1854 and is familiar wiih many
of the earliest settlers of Menard and Ma<on Cos., and now in their ripe old age reside
in Crane Creek Township, surrounded by their children. Mr. and Mrs. James Turner
have one little daughter Silva Belle, born Oct. 6, 1876. They own 141 acres of land
in Crane Crock Township.

WlLLIAM C. TURNER, farmer and stock-raiser; P. 0. Easton; was born in Muhlenburg Co., Ky., Jan. 28, 1842 ; moved to Menard Co., 111., in the fall of 1854,
and to Crane Creerk Township, in Mason Co., the same year. He married Laura Jane
Hawthorn Nov. 8, 1867 ; she was born in Allen’s Grove Township, Mason Co., May
20, 1851 ; her father, Benjamin Hawthorn, is one of the early settlers of this county ; they have had six children Hugh A., Dora A., born Oct. 13, 1870, and died Jan.
G, 1871 ; Benjamin A., born Dec. 17, 1871; James A., Dec. 25, 1873; Marcus D.,
Aug. 15, 1876, and died March 19, 1878; John W., born Sept. 20, 1878, and died
Feb, 11, 1879. They own 90 acres, and he is a Democrat.




This grove, to which such frequent reference has already been made, was the nucleus around and in which all the earliest settlements were made. It was known as Price’s Grove prior to the purchase of James Walker, in 1837, since which date it has been called by its present name. The grove proper embraces an area of not more than four hundred acres, and, in an early day, was as fine a body of timber as could be found in the county. A fine growth of the oak family, black walnut, soft and sugar maple, hickory, both shell-bark and smooth-bark, white walnut or butternut, mulberry ; and of shrubbery, the red-bud, papaw, dogwood, and many other varieties were found here. But little that is valuable, except for purposes of fencing and firewood, remains today. Most of those who erected their log cabins near this spot, in the days of its early settlement, have long since crossed over the still waters, and have been succeeded by a class of unpretending ‘citizens, that for industry, intelli- gence and moral worth will compare favorably with any portion of the county or State.

While the present inhabitants are eager for the daily papers, lest their interests may be affected by the ” spring “or “decline ” in the ” hog market,” the pioneers were content with mails once a week, or less frequently during bad weather or high water. Amid the difficulties and discouragements by which they were often surrounded, they had their social enjoyments, as those who have listened to their animated discussions of the respective merits of “gourd-seed” and “flint” corn, or the prominent points of a favorite ” coon dog,” can abundantly testify. In and around this point were the beginnings of those enterprises which in their nature tend to the permanent establishment and development of society, and which are handmaidens in the onward march of civilization. We refer to churches and schools. ”

The groves were God’s first temples,” and here in nature’s sanctuary, where the breezes came laden with the perfumes of a thousand flowers, early meetings were held. Rev. Thomas Plasters was the first to lift up the Gospel banner in this section. He was here as early as 1834, and belonged to that order of worshipers known in the West as ” Hardshell Baptists,” or, as they are otherwise called, the

“Forty-gallon Baptist^.” His preaching was somewhat after the style of the famous ” Come, Buck-ah ” sermon, recorded in the ” Hoosier Schoolmaster.” He had ” the see-sawing gestures, the nasal resonance, the sniffle and melancholy minor key,” which seems to be for an everlasting inheritance to his reverend brethren. And in addition to all these, as he warmed with his discourse, he had a habit of tugging vigorously first at one ear and then at the other, by way of lending emphasis and solemnity to his remarks. Still it was enjoyed by those early settlers who had been for some time without the privileges of the church. He discoursed many times at the residence of James A. Revis, in the southern part of the township.

Rev. John L. Turner, who came in 1840, and of whom mention has already been made, was an early minister in the Baptist Churches of this section. Rev. Abraham Bale, who should have been classed among the settlers of 1842-43, was a minister in the same connection. He settled on the farm where George Thomas now lives, and was the second resi- dent minister in the township. He built what is known as Bale’s Mill, in Menard County, and which passed from his hands to those of his brother, Jacob, but is at present owned by a son of Abraham Bale. Rev. Ross, a radical Methodist minister, preached at the residence of Solomon Norris, in quite an early day. Of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Revs. William Coder, Wallace and Moreland were among the earliest. A church was built a number of years ago, near the site of New Hope burying-ground, in Walker’s Grove, but was destroyed by fire just about the time of its completion, and before services had ever been held in it. The house was never rebuilt. Another was erected in the Sandridge timber, about the year 1859, but its use has been discontinued for some years, and the building is fast going to rack. Both of these houses were the property of the Baptist brethren, and the latter is the only public house of worship in the township.


A post office called Walker’s Grove Post Office was established at the house of James Walker, in 1839. It was on the mail route from Springfield to Havana. James Walker was the first Postmaster. After a period of about eighteen months, it was moved across the river into Menard County. An office was established at the grove, at a later date, and was there in 1854, at which time William Warnock, Jr., now of Mason City, was Postmaster. Jack Close, who afterward occupied rather a prominent place among the early merchants of Havana, had a small country store in the township as early as 1841. This was doubtless the first attempt made at merchandising in this section. Not long after Close began playing merchant, William Walker opened a small stock of dry goods and groceries at the grove. For several years, a small establishment was kept here by different parties, that of William Warnock, Jr., and his uncle being about the last. There is no store in the township at present ; those at Kilbourne, Easton and Mason City, are, however, easily accessible to the citizens of Crane Creek.

The first schoolhouse built in the township, was on land belonging to Henry Sears, and was built in 1836. It was rather a rude affair, put up by those in the neighborhood for the benefit of their children. It drew patronage from a large extent of country. William Lease kept the first school and was paid for his services by individual subscription. James Buckner, M. D., was from Kentucky and came to this part of the county in 1839. He was the first physician to locate, and stopped for a time at the residence of John Yardley. He is” said to have been a well-read and successful practitioner. The prevailing diseases were bilious and lung fever with an occasional case of chills. Dr. Buckner lived a number of years on rented land in Walker’s Grove, and then moved to Petersburg. His last place of residence was near Bloomington, in McLean County, where he died some years ago. Of him Uncle Henry, Sears says: ” He was a poor man, but every inch a gentleman.” Dr. John Morgan was here early, but did not remain long. He had the gift of gab well developed, but his knowledge of medicine was looked upon as being somewhat superficial. He returned to New Orleans whence he came, and has for a number of years past been a resident of Texas.

The milling for the earliest settlers was done on the Mackinaw, and at Broadwell’s, on the Sangamon. Later, it was obtained at Simmonds’ and McHarry’s on the Quiver, and, after the building of the Bales’ mill, they, for the most part, went to it.


Two children of the family of Alexander Revis, died in 1833, and are supposed to be the first deaths that occurred among the early settlers. The father and mother followed them some years later, and were laid to rest beside their sleeping little ones near what is known as Revis Springs. But few, if any, are now living who can point out the exact spot where the mortal remains of most of this pioneer family lie buried. The first wedding to occur in the township, so far as we have been able to ascertain, was that of John Mounts and Jane Summers. This happy event, by which two hearts were made to beat as one, transpired in 1830. No doubt John could exclaim with the poet (slightly varied),

“I would, were she always thus nigh,

Have nothing to wish or to fear,

No mortal so happy as I, My Summers would last all the year.”

To the squaw wife of James Price is accorded the honor of becoming the mother of the first child born in what is now Crane Creek Township. If living, he has been reared among the kinsmen of his mother in the Far West, and may, for aught we know, even now be quietly surveying the situation, from the camp of Sitting Bull, preparatory to spreading consternation throughout our Western frontier settlements.

Among the early Justices of the Peace, the names of Ira Patterson, Henry Norris and Robert Turner occur. Patterson and Norris were officers when this was yet included in the limits of Menard County. Turner was perhaps the first after the organization of Mason County. Patterson, after filling this and offices of minor importance for some years, went West to grow up with the country. And that he did grow well is attested by the fact that, a number of years ago, he was chosen to the important position of Governor of Oregon.

The first deed to a piece of land that Henry Sears ever had made, was drafted by the late martyred President, Abraham Lincoln. In the good old days of Whigs and Democrats, this section was Democratic, and, since the organization of the Republican party, the township has continued to march under the same banner. The scarcity of money in the days of the early settlers was a great source of annoyance, and yet, any one with a liberal amount of industry could easily supply himself with an article, which, for purposes of barter and exchange, was in as high favor as the ” dollar of our daddies ”

Of today. Coons were plentiful, and a good coon-skin was taken by the merchant in exchange for goods as readily as the value of it in cash would have been taken. J. M. Estep says that the first pair of boots he ever had he purchased of 0. M. Ross, in Havana, in 1836, and paid the entire cost in coon-skins. That the early settler would sometimes tax his ingenuity and exercise his physical frame in an unusual manner in order to obtain a little of the  ” 0-be-joyful,” is evinced by the following incident: William Summers, who was fond of his “toddy,” but who was often without the “wherewithal”

necessary to obtain it, laid a wager on a certain occasion, that he could gallop, horse-fashion, on his hands and feet one-quarter of a mile within a given length of time. The feat was accomplished, and Summers, having obtained his quart of “old rye,” remarked to his friend Jesse Baker, “We can contrive many ways in order to obtain our whisky, rather than to pay cash.”

The second apple orchard planted in the county was in this township, near Crane. Creek. The trees were obtained from the Gardner Nursery in Fulton County, which was established in 1824. The trees reared here from the seed seemed admirably adapted to the climate and soil, and at an early age bore well. The fruit, generally speaking, was remarkable for keeping well for long periods.It was not generally of the largest size, but good in quality and variety.

The township most probably took its name from the great numbers of sand-hill cranes that were found here in an early day. The evidence, however, on this point, is by no means conclusive. And thus having traced its history as best we have been able, guided by an earnest desire to place it properly on record, we part company with the settler of 1829 and those that have succeeded him, but not without regret.




The year 1834, witnessed the arrival of Henry Sears. He was born nearRaleigh, N. C., and with his parents came to Kentucky in an early day. In 1822, he came to the State of Illinois. He lived in various localities, most of the time, however, in Menard and Sangamon. In 1834, as stated, he came to Walker’s Grove and purchased the improvement of James Estep. This he sold to James Walker in 1837, and the following spring moved to his present place of residence, on Section 17, in Crane Creek Township. He is one of the few ancient landmarks yet remaining. In the forty-one years of his residence in this one place, he has, by legislative enactment, been made a citizen of Sangamon, then Menard, and finally, Mason County, without once changing his location. While the eccentric manners of the man have contributed, somewhat, to his notoriety among the early settlers (and the later ones, too, for that matter), no one can be found who would gainsay the veracity of any statement he might make in good faith.

Seeing the folly of dram-drinking exemplified in the life of his father, he has led a life of strict sobriety, and largely to this is, doubtless, due the fine state of mental and physical preservation in which we find him to-day. He was a member of petit jury for the first term of the Circuit Court ever held in Mason County. Not far from his residence was the site of the once famous Mount’s mill, an institution in its day, and the “pocket distillery,” both of which are fully described in the general county history. Abner Baxter, from Kentucky, settled at the grove soon after the coming of Sears. He remained but a year or two before selling out and moving to another portion of the county. He was an important factor at a “hoe-down,” as he could handle a ‘ fiddle ” and evoke such sweet strains of music as are wont to charm and edify the backwoodsman. He was honored as early as 1844, with a seat on the Board of County Commissioners. The year 1836 added Jesse Baker, a brother-inlaw of Sears, to the settlement. Mr. Baker, at the advanced age of eighty- . one, is still living, just across the line in Kilbourne Township. He was from Tennessee, and was a perfect Nimrod in his day. He has, perhaps, brought down more deer than any other citizen of the county, as he is said to have been an unerring marksman, and to have slain great numbers of them each fall. 

Alfred Summers came from Kentucky and settled on the farm now owned and occupied by Henry Sears, a short time after Baker made his claim. He died in October, 1837, and his death was one among the earliest to occur in the adult population of the township. Passing backward in our note of time, we find the year 1835 records the coming of Josiah Dobson, John Close and his sons, George, John Jr. (or Jack, as he was familiarly known), and Turner. These were all from Kentucky, and settled in the region of Crane Creek. The old gentleman and his son Turner remained citizens of the vicinity in which they settled till the date of their decease. John Close, Sr., died a number of years ago, and in buried on the farm now owned the Widow Carter. Turner died in 1863, having amassed, during life, considerable means, much of which has found its way into the pockets of attorneys as fees for their services in the litigation of various matters. George, after a short term of residence, moved across the Sangamon, and thence to Iowa. Jack moved to Morgan County, and, after the loss of his companion, returned and located in Havana. Some years later, he took up his residence in Shreveport, and has since died.

In 1837, James Walker, from Dearborn County, Ind., came and purchased a large tract of land in what, at that date, was called Price’s Grove, but to which we have often referred as Walker’s Grove, a name it has borne since the date of his coming. Here he lived and reared a family, which has been largely identified with the earlier and later interests of the county. He built the first frame house in this entire region of the county. The closing years of his life were spent as a citizen of Havana, in which city he died at an advanced age.

Robert Gavin, from South Carolina, is thought to have settled in the township in 1837. Of him but little record can be made, as he did not remain long, and his place of removal cannot be determined. Charles and John Haynes, from North Carolina, became citizens of Crane Creek in 1838. They are still largely represented in the township. As early as the close of 1839, Isaac Teeters, George and Hiram Walker, Huff Hines, Henry Norris and Lemuel Pelham were settlers here. Teeters came from St. Clair County, and, leaving his residence here, moved with his family to Texas. Hiram Walker, after a few years’ sojourn, moved to Greene County, 111., where he died some years ago. Henry Norris was from Barren County, Ky., and was the brother of Solomon Norris, who was among the first settlers of the township. Hines was a man who made for himself little or no reputation, an easy-going fellow, who, at this date, but few remember.

Lemuel Pelham, however, was of a different character. He was a Buckeye by birth, if full credence might be given to his state- ment in regard to his birthplace. He was one of those rare exotics upon which, after the lapse of long intervals, the early settlers were permitted to gaze. He was one of those who, to use Uncle Henry’s expressive phrase, “shackled round” from place to place, and, from the various localities in which he had lived, and the length of time spent in each locality, Mr. Sears thinks, must have been not less than one hundred and fifty years of age at the time of his settlement here. Thoroughly wedded to his migratory habits, he did not remain long, and no trace of him has been kept by those who once knew him since his removal from their midst. He is thought, however, to have gone to St. Clair County, where, a number of years ago, he made his final exit from terra firma.

Asher Scott, from New Jersey, settled about the last-mentioned date, possibly a year earlier, in the northwest corner of the township and is still living. His brother Martin accompanied him, but settled across the line in what is now Sherman Township. During the year 1840, Charles Veach, Elijah Riggin, Ensley Hall and John Fumphelan were added to the population of this portion of the county. Veach was from Delaware, and settled where Eli C. Cleaveland now lives. He lost his life, in 1851, by the accidental caving-in of a well, which he was engaged in sinking. Riggins was a ” Sucker ” by birth and settled in the northeast corner of the township, where a number of the family, in comfortable circumstances, still reside. Ensley Hall came from Tennessee to Menard County, thence to Mason, and, after one year, again located in Menard. Fumphelan, as his name implies, was from ” der Faderland.” He located southeast of where Henry Sears now lives, on land owned by J. H. and E. C. Cleaveland. He was a quiet, inoffensive, well-meaning Dutchman, who, after a few years’ residence, moved away, and all further trace of him has been lost.

Rev. John L. Turner, from Kentucky, a minister of the Baptist denomination, made a settlement near the present residence of James L. Hawks, in 1840. He was a minister of fine ability, and served the county in important offices, as the records testify. His death occurred twenty-odd years ago. The same year, Samuel C. Conwell came to the grove ; he is a native of Delaware, but was reared from early boyhood in Indiana, He was a young man of prepossessing appearance, and, as the cut of his garments and style of manners differed materially from those of the pioneers by whom he was surrounded, and with whom he was in almost daily contact, he soon discovered that he was growing into general disfavor. Coonskin caps, buckskin breeches and moccasins was the ordinary apparel, at that day, among the early settlers. Con’s dress indicated a more advanced stage of civilization and refinement, and he soon acquired to himself the distinction of “that d d Yankee,” throughout the settlement.

He was here as the agent of some fine stock, the property of his brothers-inlaw, and a sharp trade or two served to bring him prominently before the brist- ling bar of justice. In no instance, however, was he convicted on the charges preferred, the failure of which led Jesse Baker to exclaim, ” It is not worth our while to bother longer with this Jerusalem over-taker, since we cannot convict him of anything.” ” Con ” says a residence of forty years among this people has not served to make him Governor, simply on account of the bad impression he made in an early day. His connection and prominence as the first man in the county to introduce improved agricultural implements, has been fully noticed in the general county history.

The years 1841-42 brought in Henry Seymour, James H. and Joseph Norris, George Hall, Christian, Trueman and Harvey Stone. The Norrises were from Kentucky, and settled near the north line of the township. Joseph moved to Texas a number of years ago, where he soon after died. George Hall purchased the James Walker farm at the grove, where he still resides. The Stones were from the Buckeye State. Christian and Trueman were brothers, while Harvey was their uncle. The latter, after a few years, went back to Ohio ; Christian moved to Iowa, and from there to Missouri ; Trueman is still a resident of the township. Henry Seymour was from Germany, and died in the vicinity in which he settled, a number of years ago. Samuel Neely, with his sons, William, John, George and James, came from Tennessee and settled in this section in 1844-45. Two or three of the families are still living here.

Harvey B. Hawthorne was here in 1846 ; he was born in Kentucky and is of Scotch descent. The name originated during the war between the Scots and Danes, which was continued through a period of more than one hundred years. The Scots, when vanquished on the plains and in the valleys, fought their invaders from the hawthorn brush and groves, within the mountain fastnesses, and from these circumstances, the name of the shrub passed to that of a family. Mr. Hawthorne is still a citizen, and has been very successful in his  various enterprises. The same year, a number of the Tomlins settled in the northeast cor- ner of the township, many of whom still reside there. As early as 1850, Allen Robinson and James L. Hawks became denizens of Crane Creek. Robinson was from New Jersey, and came to Menard in 1846. In 1849, he settled in Walker’s Grove, on the farm once owned by Solomon Norris ; here he at present resides in affluent circumstances. Hawks was from Kentucky, and has been a continuous resident since his first settlement. Upon the formation of the township, he was chosen to the office of Supervisor, a position in which he has served his fellow-citizens twelve or thirteen years. Elisha T. Davenport came from Kentucky to what is now Mason County, in 1831, but did not become a citizen of Crane Creek Township prior to 1849 ; he resides on Section 9, and is one of the substantial, well-to-do farmers of this section.  Others there are, doubtless, who were settlers in this division of the county as early as 1850, and whose names, in justice to all, should be mentioned; but that omissions will of necessity occur, we confidently believe, will be readily granted by any one who will undertake to trace the early history of a township in which the settlements began as early as those in Crane Creek. Having taken this somewhat hasty glance at its early settlement, we next pass to notice some other matters of interest connected with its history.

Early History of Mason County- Crane Creek pt 1

Last week was history of Sherman Township

Next Week is Pennsylvania Township


This Week: Crane Creek



Casting our mental vision backward along the stream of time half a century, we behold the region of country now embraced in Mason County one unbroken wilderness. Here and there, near some point of timber, or hard by

the bank of some creek or bubbling brooklet, might be found the log cabin of

the sturdy pioneer, with a few acres rudely cultivated. These were the only

indications of an approaching civilization. Emigrants, regarding these plains

and sand ridges as fit only to unite other and better portions of the country,

avoided them as unworthy of their notice. Now and then one from a passing

train dropped out, more from necessity than choice, and started an improvement In this manner the earliest settlements in the county were made. The

settler very soon discovered, however, that the forbidding appearance of the

surface was a false indication, that an exuberance of productive power lay here

concealed under an exterior show of poverty. This fact being discovered led to a steady, uniform and onward progress in the settlement ‘and development of

the territory. Despised and neglected as she was in the beginning, Mason

County to-day may safely challenge the State to produce better crops with an

equal amount of cultivation. Crane Creek Township, one of the civil divisions

of the county, is situated south of the center, and, in extent, contains a little more than one Congressional township. Originally, it embraced the eastern

half of what is now Kilbourne Township. It is bounded, north and east, by

Sherman and Salt Creek Townships respectively ; south by the Sangamon

River, and west by Kilbourne Township. The surface is about, equally divided

between prairie and woodland. The extreme southern portion of this section

is subject to overflow, and is valuable for pasturage only. The southwestern

part of the timber district has a fine growth of young and valuable timber,

which has sprung up within the memory of some of the earlier settlers yet

living. A county ditch crosses the northwest corner and, with its tributaries,

drains a large extent of its productive land. Much of the timber-land is high

and broken, and the soil of an unproductive nature. Yardley, Revis and Long

Lakes are small bodies of water found in the south part of the township, tributary to the Sangamon River. Taken throughout its entire extent, it is not the

best, nor yet the least productive of the various divisions of the county. In

point of settlement, it reaches back through a period of fifty years, and to this

feature of its history we will now direct our attention.



The earliest settlement made in the township was in that portion of the

woodland section first known as Price’s, afterward Walker’s Grove. To Henry

Sears, who, although he has passed his threescore years and ten, is still in a

fine state of physical and mental preservation, we are largely indebted for much

that is interesting in the early history and settlement of this section. In 1829,

the year in which 0. M. Ross is said to have settled permanently in Havana,

George Garman and brother, from North Carolina or Kentucky, made a squatter’s claim on the east side of the grove. They built a cabin and broke forty

acres of the adjoining prairie. Like many other first settlers, they did not

remain long before selling out their claim and returning to their native land.

The year 1830 brought in a man by the name of Rose, also James Price, Enoch

Estep and Spencer Clary. These all settled in the grove, excepting Estep, who

located farther south. Of Rose no record has been given, either as to his for- mer place of residence or whither he went. He led a kind of nomadic life, and

was probably more or less intimately connected with Price, with whom he

came. James Price is well remembered from his intimate relation to the noble

red men of the forest. His wife was an Indian squaw, a woman of fine muscular development and great physical endurance. On leaving Walker’s Grove,

Price next made a claim farther east, at what is known as Lease’s Grove, in Salt

Creek Township, and, after a few years, went west of the Mississippi to the reser- vation allotted to his red kinsmen by the General Government. Here he soon

afterward lost his life while engaged in boating. Clary remained a citizen until

the date of his decease, and his remains lie buried on land now owned by Uncle

Henry Sears. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and is referred to by those that

knew him as a clever, hard-working man, but one who did not have the faculty

of acquiring property’. He began life with nothing and held his own remarkably well to the date of his demise. His family and immediate descendants

have long been absent from the citizenship of the township. Estep was from

North Carolina, and built his cabin at Revis’ Springs, in the south part of

this section. After a residence of some years, he moved to Jasper County,

where he died. James A. Revis, from Warren County, Ky., came in 1831.

From him Revis Lake and Springs derived their names. His father, Charles

Revis, had been in the Territory .in an early day, and is said to have erected

the first hotel in Vandalia in 1816. James A. died in 1838, and, with his

companion and some of his children, was buried on a knoll overlooking the

Sangamen. The plowshare of the more recent settler has long since made

deep furrows over their last resting-place, and but few remain to-day who

can point with any degree of certainty to the spot of their interment. Long

since, their moldering bodies have passed away, and the earth above them

has settled in to supply their places. This suggests to us the sad but certain

fate that awaits all private places of interment. The little mounds recently

formed in the old family burying-ground, where the violets and primroses,

planted by surviving love, have blossomed but a few short years, will, when

the old homestead shall have passed into the hands of those who knew not

the loved sleepers, be trodden beneath unhallowed feet, and children’s children

shall look in vain for the graves of their grandsires.

In 1832, a number of additions were made to the settlement in this section.

John Yardley and his sons James and John, originally from North Carolina,

but here direct from Kentucky, came and stopped a short time in Menard

County. Soon afterward, they located on Crane Creek. The old gentleman,

his son John and his son-in-law, Sol. Norris, after a few years’ residence, sold

out and moved to Texas. All are now numbered with the dead. James,

and a number of his descendants, are still citizens of the township, all of whom

have led upright and honorable lives. The same year, Josiah Cook, from Green

County, Ky., put in an appearance. He made a small beginning in the way

of an improvement, but did not move to it. He died, a number of years ago,

in Menard County. He is represented as one of those shiftless fellows

often met with, whose greatest gift was that of talking, and who moved from

place to place as circumstances might permit or occasion demand. By his death,

many promises to pay were canceled. About the same date, James Sutton,

from Maryland or Virginia, came to Walker’s Grove. He bought out the

claim of Rose, who has previously been mentioned. The year following, he

sold to James Estep, brother to Enoch, and moved to Havana Township. The

Esrep family, originally from North Carolina, on leaving that State, first set tled in Tennessee. From there, in an early day, they carne to St. Clair

County, 111. In the spring of 1820, James Estep and his family came to Sangamon (now Menard) County. He laid a claim on land now included in the

city limits of Petersburg. The first claim he gave up to his father, Elijah Estep, who came in the following fall or early spring of 1821. Elijah Estep

built the gear horse-mill, full account of which may be found in the history of Menard County and Petersburg Precinct. James, after giving up his claim to his father, moved across the river and located on what is known as Baker’s Prairie. Being of a somewhat rambling disposition, he occupied various localities in the few succeeding years, but finally came and improved the north half

of his first claim, and when the market opened entered it. In 1832, he moved to Arkansas, but returned in the fall of 1833, when he made his purchase at Walker’s Grove, as above stated. He afterward sold out, moved to Menard County, thence to Southwestern Missouri, but again returned to Mason County.

He died in 1857, on the farm where his son J. M. Estep now resides. His

remains, with those of his faithful companion, who had preceded him to the

spirit-land some two years, lie interred in New Hope Cemetery, in this township. Mr. Estep, unlike most of his sons, was not successful in acquiring

property. He came poor and at no time in life was he possessed of great means. He was somewhat eccentric in his habits, he never rented but always

bought and sold, sometimes more and sometimes less, always being governed by

his financial ability to meet his promises. A number of his sons, who are among the substantial, well-to-do farmers of this section, are still residents of

the township. Harvey Haskiris was in and about the grove as early as 1833.

No very substantial marks of improvement were ever known to have been the

result of his indefatigable industry. He was one of those to whom the term

“lived round,” would aptly apply. It is said of him that he was able to change his location at almost any time with little or no inconvenience, as by

walking and carrying the baby, attended by his wife who carried the household

effects in a “poke,” the feat of moving was readily and easily accomplished.



Early History of Mason County- Biographical Sketches from Sherman Township


We continue and finish up our look at the history of Sherman Township in Illinois. I hope you have enjoyed this and continue to follow along for the next several months and I bring every township and village to you in Mason County,



JOHN G. CONOVER, farmer; P. 0. Biggs. As early as 1790, Peter Conover, of Monmouth Co., moved with his family to Woodford Co., Ky., where, in December, 1812, the subject of this sketch was born. The elder Conover was the youngest
of five brothers, and the four oldest were all soldiers of the Revolution. In 1822, the
Conover family, with a large number of relatives and acquaintances, desirous of locating
beyond the influence of slavery, moved by wagons to this State, the journ ‘y occupying some months, and attended with hardships that would have deterred any hut the stout- hearted. The party reached Springfield in June,- and, after an examination of the
country, chose the Jersey Prairie, in what is now Morgan Co., as the site of their future
home. Peter Conover and his wife remained in this locality until their death, which
occurred to the first in May, 1835, and to the latter ia October, 1846. John G. Conover was married, in 1833, to Miss Susan Houghton ; she died in 1845, and he was maVried, in 1846, to Mrs. Hannah Mitchell. He moved to this county in 1841, and settled in the vicinity of Bath. In 1849, he crossed the plains to California, and returned by way of the Isthmus in 1851. In the early days of Morgan
and Menard Cos., he enjoyed the acquaintance of Lincoln, Yates and Col. Hardin, the
latter making his home, in his youth, with the Conover family. Mr. Conover settled upon the place he now occupies, on Sec. 31, in 1866, consisting of 160 acres, well improved, and worth about $30 per acre. His business capacity and integrity have been
recognized by the people of Sherman Township, ‘and on various occasions they have
chosen him Justice of the Peace, and, for five years in succession, Assessor.

J. H. CUNNINGHAM, druggist, Easton ; was born in 1844, in Louisiana; in 1854, he came to Mason Co., Ill/, and engaged in teaching school a few years prior to 1874, when he began in the drug business at Topeka, 111 ; in about six months
he sold out and came to Easton, 111., where he engaged in the same business, in addition to which he has added hardware, books and stationery; ; he is having a good trade,
and his honesty and uprightness, together with his work and the benevolent enterprises
of his county, and interest in literature, which he prides himself in, will win him
friends and prosperity. He was married, in 1874, to Anna Walker, daughter of John
Walker, a farmer of Havana Township.

ISAAC W. DEPUE, farmer; P. 0. Easton ; was born in New Jersey in 1847 ; in early life, he emigrated, with his parents, to Pennsylvania, and from that St;ite to Illi-nois in 1853, settling on Sec. 23 of this township. He was married, in 1866, to Rebecca
Jones, who died in 1878. He has two children a son n Iinod Corydon, born in 1876,
and a daughter named Lula, born in 1871. He is now serving the people of the township in the capacity of Justice of the Peace. He is proprietor of the Easton House,
in the village of Easton, and also cultivates his farm of 120 acres on Sec. 23, which is in a fair state of cultivation, and worth about $30 per acre.

CHARLES W. HOUGHTON, physician and surgeon, Eiston ; was born in Menard Co., in what is known as Rock Creek Precinct, in 1836, and came to this county in 1854, and finished reading medicine with Dr. Mastick, with whom, after finishing his medical course, he entered into partnership in the practice of medicine near where the
village of Kilbourne is located. This partnership continued until 1860, when it was
dissolved, and Dr. Houghton moved to the town of Bath in this country. In August
of the following year, he relinquished his lucrative and extending practice, and ruis d a company for the war, which was mustered into the service as Company D, 85th I. V. I. He continued with the company as its commander through all the campaigns and battles
in which it was engaged, until 1864,. when he resigned his commission and rcturncd to Bath and to his practice, which he continued f -r five years ; he then moved to Newmanville, Cass Co. On the completion of the I., B. & W. Railroad, he returned to Mason
Co., in 1873, and took up his residence at the new vi’Iage of Easton, on that lino, building the first residence in the place; here he has continued until the present time, and
enjo)S an extensive practice. The Doctor was married, in 1856, to Miss Mary F.
Mitchell, a step daughter of J. G. Conover, one of the early and prominent pioneers of
Illinois and of this county. They have had two children a sun named Corry F., who
died in 1876, aged 17, and a daughter Eva, born in 1865.

AMOS HEATER, farmer; P. 0. Havana; is a son of Jacob Heater, of Pennsylvania ; born in 1790, and died in 1863; was a farmer, and married Elizabeth Gulden;
she was born in 1793, and died in 1866. The subject of this sketch was born in 1818,
in Berks Co., Penn. ; in 1842, he moved to Mason Co., 111., and engaged in farming for two years, and then worked on a steamboat on the Mississippi River for one year. In 1846, he was married to Rebecca Bailer, aiughter of Philip Bailer; she was born in 1S^7, in Pennsylvania, and came to Illinois in 1845. After marriage, they rented for four years, and, by frugally saving their means, together with the little talent (50 cent>)
which they began with, they were then enabled to purchase a piece of land which now
contains 200 acres; it was then raw prairie, but now has become one of fine quality,
and of good improvement. Mr. Heater makes a specialty of raising hedge-plants, and has on hand thousands of fine quality ; they have had eleven children, the living are Augustus, Jennie, Ninnetta, Catharine, Jacob, Fannie, Perry, Adelbnrt ; three are dead. Mr.
Heater has held offices of Constable and School Director and Treasurer. He and wife are members of the M. E. Church, also all the family belong; he has also been Superintendent of Sabbath schools and taught classes.

JOHN LANDWER, farmer ; P. O. Biggs Station ; is a son of Harinan Landwer
and Mary (Spode) Landwer ; he was of Germany, and died 1835 ; she was a daughter
of John Spode of Hanover, Germany ; she died about 1830; they had ten children,
three survive. The subject of this sketch was born Jan. 9, 1829, in Hanover, Germany.
In 1849, he engaged in carpentering in connection with farming ; he then came to
Illinois, and engaged in farming for Henry Cramer, one year; he then rented of D. Strube
near Matanzas, for four years ; he then joined his little resource thus gained with the
improved talent (45c.) which was his only treasure at his landing, and bought 80 acres, a part of the present farm of 700 acres, and has made it one of beauty and fine quality.
He was married, Aug. 18, 1854, to Catherine Busch, daughter of Henry Busch, of
Hanover, Germany. She was one of five children, and was born Dec. 3, 1872. Their
marriage blessed them with three children, all living Mary, married to R. Keest, now
living in Bath Township, Harmon, living at home, Anna, living at home. They are members of the Lutheran Church.

PETER MORGENSTERN, farmer; P. 0. Havana; is a son of Peter Morgenstern of Europe, who came to Pennsylvania in 1847, and in 1850, to Illinois; he died
in 1878. The subject of this sketch was born Sept. 15, 1828, on a farm in Europe,
and c’ame with his father, as stated ; he remained at home until 1851, when he was
married to Caroline Louvine, daughter of a noted shoemaker of Germany ; she was born
in 1831, and came to Illinois in 1850. They settled on a farm of 140 acres, in Sherman Township, and remained there until 1865, when they moved to the present farm of
1 60 acres, which they have improved and made one of value ; they have added to
this until now they own 1,175 acres attained mostly by their own management. He
has held offices of schools, and is at present Director ; he and wife belong to the
Albright Church, in which he has held office of Class- Reader and Superintendent of Sabbath schools, and is now teacher of a Bible class in the same. Nine children were the
fruits of this happy marriage, living are Caroline, Lucinda, Lizzie, Emma, Anna,
Sammy, Charlie, Henry, (infant dead).

DANIEL ‘MARTZ, farmer ; P. 0. Topeka ; is the oldest son of Abraham Martz. who was a shoemaker by trade and died about 1856. The subject of this sketch was born in 1811, in Pennsylvania; when 16, he began mining, and, at the age of 24, he was selected as ” boss” of the company. He opened several important mines in Pennsylvania and was very successful in his management, not even losing a single man under
his orders ; he continued this business until 1861, when he came to Mason Co., 111., and
settled on the present farm of 120 acres, attained entirely by his own management. It
is probably worth $35 per acre. He was married, in 1833, in Columbia Co., Penn., to Elizabeth Henninger, daughter of Frederick Henninger, of Pennsylvania; they had
eleven children, five living, six dead ; the living are Sarah, Lavina (has taught school
and married John Allen, of Fulton Co.; is now living in Ipava ; is a druggist); Emma
E. (married R. B. Leonard, of Mason Co.) ; Ellen, Charles (living in Topeka.)

SUSAN TROUT, farmer; P. 0. Topeka; is a daughter of Elias Musselman, of
Pennsylvania; he was a farmer and came to Illinois about 1847 and died in 1859 ; her
mother’s maiden name was Messinger, of Pennsylvania ; she died in 1864 ; they were
both members of the Lutheran Church of Pennsylvania, and had a family of ten children, four of whom survive. The subject of this sketch was born Jan. 2, 1820, in Pennsylvania, and came to Illinois in 1847. In 1849, was married to William Trout, son of George Trout, of Pennsylvania; after marriage, they settled near Havana until 1861, when they moved to Forest City Township (then Mason Plains) ; one year after- ward moved to the present farm of 280 acres, attained entirely by their own labor and
management ; Mr. Trout died Aug. 31, 1873 ; he was a member of the Lutheran
Church of Erie Co., Penn ; they had five children George (he married Carrie Morgenstern, of Mason Co., daughter of Peter Morgenstern whose sketch appears else- where), Israel, Aaron ; and two are dead William and an infant.



Monday- History of Crane Creek Township  pt1

Tuesday- History of Crane Creek Township pt2

Thursday- History of Crane Creek Township pt3

Friday- Crane Creek Biographical Sketches

Early History of Mason County- History of Easton

This is Mason County, Illinois from 1854 to circa 1880. PLEASE SHARE with others.


This village is situated on the C., H. & W. R. R. about midway between
Havana and Mason City. It is very near the geographical center of the county,
and from this fact it is thought by many that should the question of the removal
of the seat of justice again come before the people of the county, a large vote
would be polled in favor of Easton. The town site was surveyed and platted by
John R. Falkner for James M. Samuels, in 1872. The original plat contained
about twenty acres, to which an addition has since been made on the north and
east. Edward D. Terrell began the construction of the first building in the
village, in the latter part of November, 1872, but did not get it completed and
ready for occupancy until the 1st of March, 1873. He then opened out a
stock of general merchandise and has since continued one of the leading merchants of the village. Diebold Furrer, in the meantime, erected a small building
and feeling that the enterprise needed spirit to make it a complete success, rolled
in a few barrels and opened out a saloon. He is at present a citizen -of the
village, engaged in the sale of dry goods and groceries. Henry Cooper built
the first private residence in the village during the summer of 1873. It was
quite ample, designed for a boarding-house, and is now owned and operated by
Charles C. Dorrell as the Easton House. A drug store, in name, was started
in the summer of 1874, by David Carter, but was in fact little less than a second-class doggery, the life of which was somewhat ephemeral. James M.
Samuels built a blacksmith-shop during the summer of 1873, and was the first to set his bellows roaring in the village. A fine steam elevator, costing $7,000, was built by Low, McFadden & Simmons, in 1874. A large amount of grain
is shipped annually from this point, the territory from which it “draws”
extending north two-thirds of the way to Forest City and south to the mouth
of Crane Creek on the Sangamon bottom. Low & Foster, of Havana, are at present engaged in handling grain at this point. A neat frame school building,
costing $3,000, was put up in 1877, and is an ornament to the village. A substantial frame church, free to all denominations, is now in process of construction, which, when completed, will cost about $2,000. The post office was established in 1873, and E. D. Terrell was the first Postmaster. The first physician
to locate was Dr. C.. W. Houghton, formerly of Newmanville, Cass County.
Dr. L. T. Magill, a promising young physician, formed a copartnership with
him in 1876, and these two are the representatives of the medical fraternity in
the village to-day. Easton was laid out and recorded by the name of Shermanville, but when a petition was sent to the Post Office Department asking for the
establishment of an office by the name of Sherman, owing to the fact that an
office of the same name already existed in Sangamon County, the petition could
not be granted. After various names had been proposed, Mr. Samuels, as proprietor of the village, requested 0. C. Easton, Postmaster at Havana, to aid in procuring the establishment of an office and granted him the privilege of naming it. Easton elected to name it for himself. Soon after the post office was established,
the name of the village was changed to correspond, though it stands recorded
to-day as Shermanville. .No public sale of lots was ever held, the proprietor
preferring to superintend largely the interests of the village himself, and to introduce that class of citizens which gave promise of thrift and enterprise. It
is doubtless owing to this, that so few of that objectionable class found in most
small villages are to be met with here. It has two general stores, two drug
stores, one hardware and two smith shops, a boot and shoe shop, one saloon, one hotel and a citizenship of about one hundred. Situated as it is in the
midst of the finest agricultural district of the county, it may yet, at no very
distant day, grow to rival the more important towns of the county.
Briggs’ Station, three miles west of Easton on the same line of railroad, was laid out in April, 1875, but with the exception of a residence, a small store- room, in which is kept a general store, and a small building for the handling of
grain, all owned and operated by Paul G. Briggs, the proprietor, no other
improvement marks the site. A post office was established here in 1877,
which is a matter of some convenience to the immediate neighborhood. Poplar
City, laid out by Martin Scott in 1873, on the extreme west line of the township, has failed to rise into a village of any importance. In its palmiest days,
its population did not exceed twenty-five souls, and recently it seems to have
entered upon a decline. Some grain is shipped from this point. A post office at one time exeisted here, but latterly has been discontinued