Bath Township History part 2

c. 1834-1880




Joseph F. Benner came from Ohio, and settled in this township. He assisted in building the Court House when the seat of justice was moved to Bath. Mr. Benner removed to Lincoln, Logan County, a good many years ago. Samuel Craggs came to this section in 1845 or 1846 ; was a carpenter by trade, and came from ” Old Hengland.” His wife was a sister to Smith
Turner. Two brothers William and Charles Craggs at present live in Kilbourne Township. His father was also among the early settlers, but died many years ago. William, Daniel, Francis and John Bell may also be numbered among the early settlers, though the exact year of their settlement is not remembered. After a few years they returned to Greene County, where they came from. They
were a chime of Bells that were perfectly harmonious in tone, as we were told that all four of the brothers married sisters (Morrows), and soon little Bells began
to jingle. They married sisters to Thomas Hubbard’s wife. William and Daniel were preachers ; William entering the ministry as soon as he reached manhood. J. P. Hudson came from Massachusetts to Illinois, and settled in Macoupin County in 1838, removed to this town in 1845, and located at Matanzas, where he resided several years, and then removed to his farm about five miles east of Havana, and afterward to the city “of Havana. About 1866, he removed to Mason City. He claims to have introduced the first McCormick’s Reaper into this county, and sold it afterward to William Ainsworth, of Lynchburg Township.

The Clotfelters settled in Bath Township in 1839-40. They came from Morgan County here, but were natives of some of the older settled States. The family consisted of Jacob Clotfelter, Sr.,and his sons Jacob and Michael. Theold gentleman has been dead some ten years, having removed to Kansas with his son Jacob, where he died. Michael lives in this township. Kean Mahoney came from the “auld sod ” and was one of the early settlers in Bath. He owned land near the village, and made an addition to it known as Mahoney’s Addition. He went to California in 1853, and as he has never returned, if living, is probably laboring with Dennis Kearney to compel the ” Chinese to go.” The Beesleys were from New Jersey, and finding plenty of sand here, like their
own little State down on the Atlantic coast, located in Cass County, and in 1845 came to this township. The elder Beesley lives at present with his son Frank in Jacksonville, while John, another son, lives in the city of Virginia. They were prominent merchants and grain-dealers at Bath, and did an extensive business. D. B. Frost, a down-east Yankee, settled here in 1843, and
afterward sold out and moved to Wisconsin.

Drury S. Field came from “Old Virginny,” and settled in Mason County in 183-, on what is known as Field’s Prairie, where he died in 1838. He was a physician, and said to be the first practitioner in Mason County. He was a man of wealth, and entered considerable land, or had it entered by V. B. Holmes, as already noted in this chapter. A. E. Field was a son, and, like his
father, a “doctor,” also a man of intellect and influence in the community. Mr. Field raised a large family of children, most of whom are dead. As they settled in that portion of Bath which was taken off to form Kilbourne, they are further noticed in the history of the latter town. Edward Field, the father of Dr. Drury S. Field, was a soldier of the Revolutionary war, and served through the long and desperate struggle for independence. Stokes Edwards came here among the pioneers, and still lives in this township, or on the line between this and Kilbourne Township. John A. Martin, another pioneer, from the sands of New Jersey, came here about 1846 or 1847. He first settled in Morgan County, but came to Bath, as recorded above, where he resided until his death, about four years ago. Thomas Howard, a brother-in-law to F. S. D. Marshall, came about 1845, and died some years ago. Thomas Hardisty came from Peoria to this settlement, but was originally from Kentucky, and used to regale his friends with many stories and anecdotes of that famous old State. He settled here in 1847 or 1848 remained but a few years, and then moved away. J. W. Northern was also an early settler, and removed to Kansas, since which little has been heard from him.
Israel Carman and James Gee, brothers-in-law, came here together from New York, in an early day, and are both long since dead.

John B. Renshaw came in 1845, and was one of the first blacksmiths in the settlement. He went to California, and whether living or dead his old associates do not know. J. A. Burlingame is from New York, and came to Bath in the forties. He is the genial agent for the Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville Railroad, at Bath, and is a fixture in that position, which he has held since the completion of the road.
S. S. Rochester came from Greene County, this State, somewhere in the forties, and is still living in Bath Village. He was a strong Democrat, but, at the election of 1860, for certain reasons, voted the Republican ticket. After the election was over, the victorious party met in the saloon to glorify the result, which they did by drinking toasts. A Mr. Samuels, who was a zealous Republican, drank the following toast to Mr. Rochester, which, for years, was a byword among his friends: “Here is to ‘Sydney Breese’ Rochester, who voted the Republican ticket late in the evening,” with a heavy emphasis on the last words. Many of Mr. Rochester’s old friends will remember this with some amusement. A son, B. F. Rochester, also lives in Bath, and is one of the respected citizens of the place ; another is mentioned as Lieutenant in the Twenty-seventh Illinois Infantry. Lewis Clarkson came in 1833, and was the first settler on Field’s Prairie. He went to Missouri in 1837 or 1838.

Gen. J. M. Ruggles is a native of the old Buckeye State, and came to Illinois in 1837. He first came to Mason County in 1844, but did not locate
until 1846. He settled in Bath in. that year, and commenced the mercantile business with Maj. Gatton. He was elected to the State Senate in 1852, for the district composed of Sangamon, Menard and Mason Counties, Abraham Lincoln being a member of the Lower House. In 1856, he was appointed on a committee with Lincoln and Ebenezer Peck, to draft a platform and resolutions for the new party then forming upon the ruins of the old Whig party. The other members of the committee being otherwise engaged, the duty devolved on Ruggles, who drew up the first platform of principles of the Republican party. In 1861, Gov. Yates tendered him a commission as Quartermaster of the First Illinois Cavalry. He was soon promoted to the office of Major of the Third Cavalry, in which regiment he remained until mustered out of service in 1864, as noted in another part of this chapter. In all the positions held by Gen. Ruggles, whether civil or military, his duty has been discharged with faithful fidelity. He owns a fine lot of land in the county, mostly in Kilbourne Township, and resides at present in Havana. Franklin Ruggles, a brother of Gen. Ruggles, came to Bath in 1851, and took an interest in the flouring-mill then building by Gatton & Ruggles. A sawmill was also built, which was operated by the same power as the flouring-mill, and did a large business for several years, under the superintendence of Franklin Ruggles. He finally wore himself out by hard work and exposure in his business, and died in 1855 leaving two sons, John and James, who now lie in the grave beside their father in Bath Cemetery. John was killed at the battle of Shiloh.

Isaac N. Mitchell is a native-born ” Sucker.” His parents were among the pioneers of Morgan County, and came there from Kentucky. When Isaac was seventeen years old, the family moved to Field’s Prairie, in this township, where he worked on the farm until the age of twenty-one, when he came to the village of Bath. In 1867, he was elected Treasurer of Mason County, and, in 1869, County Clerk. He has held various other minor offices, in all of which he has given satisfaction. He is at present one of the respected citizens of Havana. Daniel R. Davis and Benjamin Sisson were from New England. The latter came to the settlement about 1842, and died several years ago. Davis was one of the first settlers on the prairie east of Bath, and came as early as 1838-39. He was an old sailor, and had been all over the world. In an altercation, one day in Bath, he was struck with a scale weight, from the effect of which he died. Leslie and George Lacy were from the old Quaker State of Pennsylvania and came to the settlement about 1842. Both are still living in the township. Henry McCleary was a jolly Irishman, and the life of the early settlers of Bath. He is recorded among the pioneers and many are the jokes traced to his authorship. One beautiful Sabbath “morning about sunrise, he was slipping out with his gun, when some one asked him where he was going. With ready Irish repartee, replied, that he had an appointment to meet Messrs. Holland and Lefever (two very strict church members), down by the river and go hunting, and he was afraid he would be late.” He was a carpenter, and when Dr. Oneal created anew office in Bath, McCleary was engaged to do the work. Dr. Oneal had a partition put in the office, which seemed to puzzle the Irish man. One day he stopped work and told the Doctor if he would pardon his curiosity, he would like to ask “what he was having that partition put in for, anyhow ‘i ” The Doctor told him that a couple of young men, viz.: Toler and Atherton, were going to study medicine with him, and he wanted a back room where the young men would be secure against interruption. McCleary, scratching his head, replied, ” Well, I don’t know anything about Atherton, but that Toler boy is just fool enough to make a doctor.”

Dr. John C. Galloway was an early settler of Bath and had a successful run of practice for several years, and then moved to Kansas. John R. Teney is an old resident of the county,
living in Bath ; also, B. C. Anton. James M. Robinson came about 1852, and was elected the first Police Magistrate of Bath. He had been in the Legislature from Menard County.
From “Bingen on the Rhine,” the following sturdy citizens came to Bath Township: G. H. and J. H. Kramer, J. H. and Diedrich’ Strube, Peter Luly Adolph Krebaum, John Havighorst, and two brothers, John Rudolph Horstman and John Henry Horstman. The Kramers came to this country together, and are both still living, highly respected citizens of Bath. They are among the
prominent business men of the place, and have accumulated a good deal of the world’s wealth. J. H. and Diedrich Strube were also brothers, and came about 1844-45. J. H. Strube is still living, but Diedrich has been dead some time. Their father came to Illinois with them, but he too, died years ago. Adolph Krebaum was elected Circuit Clerk and moved to Bath in 1845, and remained
there until 1851, when the county seat was moved back to Havana.

Peter Luly is among the early settlers, but it is not known what year he came to the town. He went to Peoria and died there. John Rudolph Horstman came to Bath in 1836, and was a blacksmith by trade. His brother, John Henry Horstman, came about four years later. A peculiarity of these brothers was both bearing the name of John. They have been dead some time. Havighorst is .among the early settlers, and located at Matanzas, but now lives in Havana, where the Havighorst family is more particularly referred to among the early settlers, as well as the Schultes and Krebaums. They have grown up with this great country, of which they had heard in their own land, and crossed the ocean to try their fortunes where all are free, regardless of the poet’s pleading words to the contrary : sprecht ! warum zogt ihr von dannen ? Das Neckarthal hat Wein und Korn ; Dor Schwarzwald steht voll finstrer Tannen,
Im Spessart klingt des Alpler’s Horn.

When the pioneers whose names are recorded above came to this section, Bath Township was not the highly cultivated farming district it is noAV. Wild prairies, timber-land, marshes and sloughs then, are now finely-improved farms. The timber has been cleared off, prairies turned upside down and marshes drained. By ditching and artificial draining, much land once supposed to be
worthless may now be reckoned among the best in the town. In place of the elegant country residences of the present day. a cabin of black-jack poles, daubed with mud, sheltered the settler and his family. Wolves were plenty, with now and then a panther to relieve the monotony. The present generation know little of what their parents had to undergo in opening up the country.
In the early times, the people went to mill at Duncan’s, on Spoon River, in Fulton County, until Simmonds built a mill on Quiver, which was more convenient, inasmuch as it was on the same side of the Illinois River that they were themselves. A few years after Simmons built his mill, McHarry erected one, also, on Quiver Creek. These supplied the people of this section until the erection of a mill in the village of Bath. There are no mills in the township outside of the village.

The first blacksmith in the township was Guy Spencer. He was an Eastern man and one of the early settlers of the county. He died twenty or twenty-five years ago. The first stores and post offices were in the villages, and are noticed in that connection. The first school, it is believed, was taught by Miss Berry, who, some time after, married F. S. D. Marshall, noticed in this chapter as one of the pioneers. She was a stepdaughter of B. F. Turner, brother of Smith Turner. The first death to in the settlement was Louis Van Court, an old hunter. He was a bachelor, and lived u around,” staying first with one and then with another, and was very wealthy owning a gun, a fiddle and an axe. He died in 1836, and, as an old settler informed us, was buried in the sand, near where the village of Moscow once stood. Since his day, many of the pioneers have followed him to the land of shadows. Hiram Blunt, a son of Thomas Blunt, is supposed to have been the first birth in Bath. At any rate, he always claimed to have been the first born in the county contesting that honor with Mr. Krebaum, who is elsewhere mentioned as the first in the county. The first marriage is lost in the mists of
antiquity ; but that there has been a first marriage, followed by many others, the present population bears indisputable evidence.

The first messenger to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation to the people of Bath Township was the Rev. Mr. Shunk, a Methodist minister. He established the first class and church of that denomination, and used to preach at Maj. Gatton’s before there was any church edifice erected in the town. He came originally from Pennsylvania about 1841, and died some three years ago
from the effects of sunstroke. Another of the early preachers was the Rev. Mr. Daniels, of the Baptist Church, who is still living in the village of Bath, arid occasionally preaches in the Christian Church of Bath. Rev. George A. Bonney was also an early preacher in this section, and of the Methodist denomination. There are two church edifices in the township outside of the village,
viz. : Mt. Zion Baptist Church, on Sec. 35, some five or six miles southeast of Bath ; it was erected twenty years or more ago, and is an ordinary frame building. The other is a German Lutheran Church, in the northeast part of the town. It is a neat frame edifice, built about 186465, and well attended by the German citizens, who comprise most of the population in this part of the town.
Bath Township is traversed by the Peoria, Pekin & Jacksonville Railroad, which was completed through the town in 1859. A full history of this road
is given elsewhere in this work, and will not be repeated in this chapter. It is the only railroad running through Bath, about twelve or thirteen miles of it being in the town. The Springfield & North- Western Railroad, which was completed through from Springfield to Havana in 1873, although not touching this township, receives considerable freight from it, much of the grain in the eastern
part of Bath being hauled to Kilbourne and shipped over this road. Thus it will be seen that Bath Township, with the benefit of two railroads and river
transportation, is well supplied with shipping facilities. Mason County adopted township organization in 1861, when some changes- were made in the boundaries of the original townships, or election precincts.

Bath formerly included in its boundary one half of the present town of Kilbourne, as noticed in the history of that town. Under the new order of things J. H. Allen was the first Supervisor of Bath Township, while J. H. Dierker represents it at present in the honorable County Board. In politics, Bath Township has always been Democratic, and, since the organization of the Republican party, it has been more strongly Democratic than ever. During the late war, it was loyal to the core, and furnished troops in excess of all calls. No draft occurred in the town during the entire struggle,
and it could have stood another call without having been subjected to one pretty good evidence in support of Mr. Lincoln’s assertion, that he could never put down the rebellion without the assistance of the War Democrats.

Bath turned out a number of shoulder-straps, as well as her full quotaof muskets. Among the former, we may mention the gallant Ruggles, noticed in the list of early settlers in another page. He went into the war as Lieutenant and Quartermaster of the First Illinois Cavalry, but was soon promoted to- Major of the Third Cavalry, and, at the battle of Pea Ridge, to Lieutenant
Colonel. At the close of the war, he was breveted Brigadier General for meritorious services. Charles “W. Houghton, Captain in the Eighty-fifth Regiment of infantry ; T. F. Patterson, Captain in same regiment ; Charles H. Chatfield entered as a private, was wounded, came home and veteranized, and was elected Captain in same regiment, and was killed at Chickamauga ; Samuel Young was Lieutenant in same regiment ; C. H. Raymond, First Lieutenant in same ; George O. Craddock, entered as private, and was promoted to a Lieutenancy in same regiment before close of war ; A. J. Bruner (killed in Missouri), J. H. Mitchell and A. T. Davis were Lieutenants in the Seventeenth Infantry; J. H. Schulte, Captain, and W. W. Nelson, Lieutenant, in the One
Hundred and Eighth Infantry ; W. H. Rochester, Lieutenant in Twenty-seventh Infantry ; J. W. Chatfield, Second Lieutenant in same regiment ; A. H. Frazer, Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant and then Captain in the Fifty-first Infantry ; Robert Huston, Lieutenant in same regiment ; Charles Reichman, Second Lieutenant in Twenty-eighth Infantry ; F. S. Cogshall and W. W. Turner, Lieutenants in Eighty-fifth Infantry ; Frank A. Mosely and John B. Brush, Lieutenants in One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Regiment (one hundred days). The rank and file, too numerous to be mentioned in this limited space, were of the sturdy ” sons of the soil,” who bore themselves bravely in the front, of the fray. To those who laid down their lives upon Southern battle-fields,
Requiescant in Pace.


THANKS to those that have been reading these but this project WILL BE SUSPENDED due to low readership. There will be the final segment (part 3) of Bath Township tomorrow then we pause.  (Yesterday I had 8 readers)

Early History of Mason County- Sherman Township

For the next several weeks I will be bringing to you some history. What I am giving you if from a book titled “The History of Menard and Mason Counties, Illinois” The author is anonymous so this is free reign to copy and give to you. The book covers Mason County from 1841 to circa 1879. On thing to remember is I didn’t write this material. If things appear to be not quite right then it is from the book and not from me.

I will start with the history of the townships and then a brief history of any towns or villages found in that township. Let’s get started!


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The History of Sherman Township Part 1

When, in 1862, in accordance with a vote of the citizens adopting township organization, the county of Mason was divided into eleven townships.
Sherman had no part or lot in the matter. The voting-places of its citizens were Havana, Forest City, and in the eastern portion of Pennsylvania Township. The distance to be traveled and the difficulty experienced in reaching them, often deterred them from exercising this most inestimable right of the
American citizen. In September, 1866, a petition was presented to the Board of Supervisors, praying that a new township by the name of Jackson might be created out of portions of Havana, Pennsylvania and Mason Plains (now Forest City) Townships.

After mature deliberation, the prayer of the petitioners was granted. Though the name by which it had been christened was
one which the American people had twice honored with the highest gift in their power to bestow, and was calculated to perpetuate the memory of the hero of
New Orleans, yet a greater in military exploits than he had arisen. Sherman, who, at the head of his noble and victorious army, had ” marched down to the
sea,” and by his successful warfare, waged in behalf of his country, had endeared himself to every true patriot heart, was a name well-pleasing to many
of its citizens. At the January meeting of the Board, in 1867, upon motion, the name Jackson was stricken out, and that of Sherman substituted. It is designated as Town 21 north, Range 7 west of the Third Principal Meridian, and comprises thirty-six sections a Congressional Township. The woodland districts are of a very limited extent. Excepting a small grove in the northeast
corner, known as Crane Marsh timber, and the outskirts of Bull’s Eye Prairie timber, along the western edge, the entire township is prairie. A county ditch,
finding an outlet through Crane Creek, crosses the southeastern corner, and, with its tributaries, affords drainage to an extended scope of its territory. The
C., H. & W. R. R. (formerly known as the Havana extension of the Indianapolis, Bloomington & Western) crosses its southern portion, the length of line
through the township being about seven miles.

The geographical position of Sherman is south of Quiver and Forest City
Townships, west of Pennsylvania, north of Crane Creek, and east of Havana.
As an agricultural district, at present it ranks lower than any other township in
the county. This is owing to the large amount of wet, swampy land included
within its limits. Fully three-fourths of its entire area was comprised in that
portion of the county known, a few years ago, as “swamp-lands.” Many of
its broad acres were at one time held by the Government at the small sum of
25 cents per acre, and even this mere pittance it failed to realize. These lowlands, when effectually drained, have proved to be very productive, and the
township, by a thorough system of artificial drainage, may be made to compare favorably with other portions of the county in its annual products. With
this glance at its topographic features, we come at once to a notice of its EARLY SETTLEMENT.
The first improvement made in what is now Sherman Township was that of
Thomas K. Falkner. The family, originally from the Empire State, had set- tled in Dearborn County, Ind., in 1815. In 1830, Thomas, then a married
man, moved to Madison County, and settled on the bank of White River.
Eight years later, he removed to Illinois, and entered lands in Section 7, Town
21 north, Range 7 west of the Third Principal Meridian, then Tazewell, now
Mason County. He built a log cabin, and, on the opening of spring, began to break prairie. After a residence of ten or twelve years, he sold out to Henry
Cease and moved into Salt Creek, where, in 1865, he died. In the summer of
1839, Mahlon Hibbs and his sons, William and Eli, together with his son-inlaw, John Hampton, came from Columbia County, Penn., and settled on the
same section. Mahlon Ilibbs settled on the southeast quarter, made an improvement, and died the fall after coming. William Hibbs entered land on the
northwest quarter, improved it, and, after a residence of some six or eight years,
traded it for mill property in Island Grove, Sangamon County. From there
he removed to Missouri, and, a few years since, to Kansas, in which State he
at present resides. John Opp is the owner, at present, of the land he entered.

Eli .Hibbs made his farm on the northeast quarter, lived there some years, and
then moved to the farm entered by his father, where he still lives. John
Hampton located west of his father-in-law, and lived on the farm he entered
and improved till October, 1878, when he moved to Shelby County, Mo.,
where, at last accounts, he was still living. About two weeks subsequent to the arrival of the Hibbses and Hampton, Mrs. Catharine Dentler and family
came from Northumberland County, Penn., and settled on Section 18, south of
the settlements already mentioned. She moved to Nebraska seven or eight
years ago, and died there in the winter of 1878. Solomon Dentler, a young
man, nephew of Mrs. Dentler, came with the family. He entered eighty acres on Section 20, but did not improve it. In the fall of 1839, he returned East,
and, having traded his land to Henry Cease, did not again come West. The
settlers already mentioned comprised the entire citizenship of this section prior
to 1844. West of their location, toward the town of Havana, there were seven
or eight families along the border of the woods, to wit, Coder, McReynolds,
Robert Falkner, Eli Fisk, Brown, Fessler, and a few others. These constituted
the inhabitants in the first thirty miles or more east of Havana. Nearly the
whole country was a vast, unbroken prairie, over which roamed at pleasure
vast herds of deer and wolves. Mr. John R. Falkner relates that, in the
spring of 1840, he, with two others, counted on Bull’s Eye Prairie fiftynine deer in one herd, and forty-two in another, all in sight at the same
time. James H. Chase was the next in order in the township. He came
from Pennsylvania to Hamilton County, 111., in 1839, and from there to Mason in 1844. His improvement was made on the northwest quarter of Section 8, where he remained till the date of his decease, an event which occurred some years ago.

Joseph Lehr settled in the northwest corner of the township in 1845. He purchased two acres of William Hibbs for a building-site, on which he erected a cabin. He laid a claim on Section 6, which he improved and owned to the date of his death. Lehr came from the Buckeye State, but was a native of Pennsylvania. He moved to Wabash County and lived one
year, thence to Wisconsin and remained one year, finally returning to Havana,
where, a few years ago, he died. Among the list of settlers as early as 184849,
we find the names of Henry Cease, John Blakely, William and John Alexander
and Charles Trotter. Cease was from the Keystone State, and was the fore- runner of a large number from the same section that settled, at an^early date,
in what is now Pennsylvania Township. He purchased the improvement of
Thomas K. Falkner, and, a few years later, moved farther east into the township, on land now owned and occupied by J. H. Kellerman. He moved to Missouri a few years ago, and at present resides there. Blakely and the Alexanders were from Ohio, and settled east of those already mentioned. Blakely continued a citizen till the date of his decease. The Alexanders first settled in
Havana Township, but came, as above stated, to Sherman. William located near the edge of Crane Creek timber, and, several years ago, went to Missouri.
John sold out some three or four years after coming,, and returned to Ohio.
Charles Trotter was an Englishman by birth, and came to this section from the Bay State. Peter Morgenstern now owns and occupies the farm he improved.
He remained in the township but a few years, then moved to Beardstown, Cass County, where, some years later, he died. About the time of the last mentioned
date, Mrs. M. B. Devenport and family, consisting of her sons Henry, Lewis,
William, Joseph and Marshall, settled in the southern part of the township,
about one mile southeast of the present village of Easton. Her husband, Marshall B. Devenport, commonly known as Booker, came from Kentucky to Illi- nois in 1832, and died in what is now Salt Creek Township in 1840. Joseph died here a number of years ago. Henry is still a resident of this part, while
Eli T. resides across the line, in Crane Creek. Marshall Devenport took up his residence in the Golden State some years since, and, when last heard from, was living.


Wednesday is Sherman Township part 2

Friday is the History of Easton