Hamilton County
1887 County History

The following is a transcription of the Hamilton County history section of The History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin, and Williamson Counties, Illinois (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887).

<pg. 252 cont.>
     Following is a list of the land entries made previous to the organization of the county, February 8, 1821:
     In 1815 – John B. Stovall, February 13, the northwest quarter of Section 11, Township 7, Range 7, and William Watson, November 7, the northwest quarter of Section 13, Township 7, Range 7.
     In 1816 – John Townsend, November 15, the northwest quarter of Section 31, Township 5, Range 6; William Hungate (This name is spelled Hengate on the land entry book, but old settlers and others say it should be Hungate), the southeast quarter of Section 15, Township 5, Range 5; John B. Stovall, November 19, the southeast quarter of Section 23, Township 6, Range 7, and on December 28, the northwest quarter of Section 12, Township 7, Range 7.
     In 1817 – John Stone, January 31, the southwest quarter of Section 24, Township 6, Range 7; Ambrose Maulding, the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 13, Township 5, Range 5, and W. Buck and A. Crouch, November 24, the southeast quarter of Section 28, Township 3, Range 6; William Wheeler, July <pg. 253> 17, the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 20, Township 6, Range 7.
     In 1818 – Frederick Mayberry, January 3, the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 11, Township 7, Range 7; Moses Shirley, February 13, the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 18, Township 5, Range 6; John Dale, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 18, Township 6, Range 6; Samuel Hogg, February 19, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 31, Township 5, Range 6; John Hardisty, March 23, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 35, Township 5, Range 5; John Tanner, April 20, the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 1, Township 5, Range 7; Michaal Jones, May 5, the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 23, Township 5, Range 6; Thomas Sloo, Jr., May 11, the southwest quarter of Section 7, Township 5, Range 6; May 20, the northwest quarter of Section 3, Township 5, Range 6; the northeast quarter and the northwest quarter of Section 4, Township 5, Range 6; May 30, the southeast quarter of Section 33, Township 4, Range 6, and the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 34, Township 1, Range 6; Martin Bond, May 20, the southwest quarter of Section 33, Township 4, Range 6; William Hungate; July 23, east half of the southwest quarter of Section 23, Tomnship 5, Range 5; Ralph Hatch, Angust 6, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 18, Township 5, Range 6; Warner Buck, Jr., August 20, the east half of the southwest quarter of Section -, Township 3, Range 6; Eli Waller, August 21, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section -, Township 3, Range 6; William B. McLean, September 9, the northwest quarter of Section 15, Township 5, Range 6, and William Wilson, the northwest quarter of Section 28, Township 5, Range 6; George Crissell, September 15, the southeast quarter of Section 4, Township 5, Range 6; John Marshall, September 21, the southeast quarter of Section 10, Townehip 5, Range 6; the southwest quarter of Sec- <pg. 254> tion 11, Township 5, Range 6; the northwest quarter of Section 14, Township 5, Range 6, and the northwest quarter of Section 15, Township 5, Range 6; Henry B. Brockway, November 5, the southwest quarter of Section 19, Township 3, Range 7; November 13, tho northwest quarter of Section 19, Township 3, Range 7; the northwest and the southwest quarters of Section 24, Township 3, Range 6; Gilbert Griswold, November 19, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 4, Township 7, Range 6; William Wheeler, November 13, the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 19, Township 5, Range 7; Merrill Willis, November 16, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 19, Township 5, Range 7; Hiram Greathouse, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 11, Township 7, Range 7; Warner Buck, December 14, the west half of the northwest quarter of Section -, Township 3, Range 6; and Hardy Gatlin, December 14, tile east half of the southeast quarter of Section 14, Township 5, Range 6; Abner Lamden, September 9, the southeast quarter of Section 36, Township 5, Range 7.
     In 1819 – William Hardisty, January 27, the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 35, Township 6, Range 7; Jesse Hiatt, February 4, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 28, Township 6, Range 7; Samuel Garrison, February 17, the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 20, Township 3, Range 6; Daniel Powell, the southeast quarter of Section 25, Township 6, Range 7; John Winson, March 1, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 12, Township 7, Range 6; Enness Maulding, April 3, the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 12, Township 5, Range 5; William R. Anderson, May 11, the southwest quarter of Section 1, Township 6; Range 7; Frederick Mayberry, May 27, the east half of the southwest <pg. 255> quarter of Section 15, Township 5, Range 6; Robert M. Porter, September 8, the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 13, Township 5, Range 7; Elisha Gordon, September 10, the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 6, Township 5, Range 7; and Robert Anderson, December 2, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 13, Township 5, Range 6.
     In 1820 there was but one entry made, and that by Peleg Sweet, on January 5; the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 8, Township 7, Range 6; and in 1821 there were but two entries made, one by Christopher Hardisty, March 24, the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 36, Township 6, Range 7, and the other by Lewis Green, on December 6, the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 24, Township 4, Range 6.
     The first deed recorded in the book of deed was on the 8th of April, 1825.  This deed was made April 8, 1823, by William Watson, and transferred the ownership of the northwest quarter of Section 13, Township 7, Range 7, 160 acres, from the maker to John B. Stovall for $100.  The second deed on the record was made by William B. McLean, June 18, 1823, to the commisioners [sic] of Hamilton County, "for the use of the county commissioners of Hamilton County and their successors in office, of a certain tract or parcel of land, known and distinguished on a plat or map of the town of McLeansboro; said land being located, twenty acres of it, by the commissioners appointed by the General Assembly to locate the county seat of Hamilton County, said tract or parcel of land containing forty acres, surveyed by Thoms [sic] Sloo, Jr., and return made of the same to the county commissioners' court of said county, and also lies in the lands sold at the Shawneetown District land office, being and lying on the northwest quarter of Section 15, Township 5, Range 6."  The consideration <pg. 256> in this case was mentioned as $1,000.  A number of deeds then follow, made by the county commissioneer's court, June 19, 1823, of lots in the town of McLeansboro, sold the day previous to various individuals, for a partial list of which see the history of McLeansboro.
     When these settlers began to come into the county, the country was, as was stated in the description thereof, mostly covered with timber.  Log cabins were the first residences, and their occupants had to to to Carmi for bread.  The ever ready rifle or shotgun easily supplied them with a sufficient variety of meat – wild turkey, squirrels, bear, deer, as well as other kinds of game.  The woods were also full of animals which would not serve as food, as wolves, against the ravages of which, as soon as domestic animals were introduced, it was necessary to furnish protection in the form of high rail fences, staked and ridered, for a wolf is not much more agile in the climbing of a high fences than a dog.  There were also plenty of foxes, panthers and catamounts to prey upon the pigs and sheep.  Upon dressing hogs it was customary to go to Gallatin County, near Equality, for salt, carrying it home on horseback.  Then there was plenty of range, plenty of mast, so that horses, cattle, sheep and hogs were kept without expense.  When crops began to be cultivated, there were no insects to wholly or partially destroy them, and previous to 1854, no drought of any consequence occurred.  Crops were uniformly a success.  It could then truly be said, "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap," and of this every man felt sure.  The chinch-bug or weevil had not immigrated so far toward the west; he was doubtless waiting until fully assured of the certainty of sustenance, and did not appear until the year 1862 or 1863, as nearly as can be ascertained; hog cholera, though, arrived about ten or twelve years before.  The people themselves were scarcely ever known to be sick much less to die.  Chills and fever were almost the only complaint, and for these the almost unfailing <pg. 257> remedies, wahoo or Indian arrow-root, and wafer-ash, a small shrub, put into whisky, were always at hand to cure.  The industries, however, were but insufficiently represented.  Blacksmiths were so scarce that many of the settlers were compelled to travel a distance of from four to five miles to have tempered, mended or repaired, a hoe, an ax or plow, and these implements were all home made, and that by artisans possessing little skill.  From this and other causes, agriculture was also very rude [sic]; but for this primitive condition of agriculture and of the arts, nature made ample compensation by the above-mentioned absence of the enemies of crops and the bountiful productiveness of the soil.  The yield of corn was usually from thirty to forty bushels to the acre.  Rye, oats and hay were always certain.  As the necessity for converting wheat into flour and corn into meal increased, horse mills and hand mills began to find their way into the county, the stones for which were quarried and dressed from the abundant millstone grit within the limits of the county.  One of these mills had an excellent local reputation; Storey's Mill made as good wheat flour as could then anywhere be found.  Some of the little corn crackers propelled by water-power are said to have been very industrious – they no sooner finished grinding one kernel of corn than they commenced upon another right away.  But notwithstanding the small capacity of the early mills, the people managed to survive.  There were not so many of them then as now, and as their numbers increased, their necessities and their facilities increased, at least, with equal pace.  The first steam grist or flouring-mill, it is believed, was introduced in 1850, being built at McLeansboro, by Henry Wright.  The second was by Jeptha Judd, and the third, a steam saw-mill as well as flouring-mill, by a Mr. Wheeler.  At first the "bar share plow" was the only one employed; then came the "Carey plow," the mold-board of which was about one-half wood, the other half iron or steel, and at length the "diamond plow," a great improve- <pg. 258> ment invented by James Lane, for many years county judge, which served a useful purpose and which has been compelled to succumb only within the past few years, in fact some of them may be seen even unto this day.  The wheat was for a long time threshed with flails or tread out with horses or with oxen upon the the [sic] threshing floor, and winnowed with a riddle and a sheet.  Fanning-mills were looked upon as a great advance, and threshing machines of the "ground-hog" style still a greater, which came in about 1857 or 1858.  Later still, and still a great advance, came the separator and threshing machine combined, and finally horses were, for the most part, supplanted by untiring steam.  Beyond this it seems undesirable and impossible to go.  Though all gladly accept the improved and improving facilities which civilization brings, yet many, especially of the lingering pioneers, sincerely regret the change from the Arcadian simplicity of the pioneer life, to the greater complexity and heterogeneousness, to the more cold, callous and stilted vanity and selfishness of the present day.  Then all were upon the same plane, all were sympathetic, all were helpful; none knew what it was to want for friendship, for assistance and encouragement and attention, whether in health or in distress; all were neighbors, even to distances of ten or twelve miles away.  Classes and castes founded upon wealth instead of upon worth, were then unknown, or the rare exception to the rule.

ORGANIZATION OF THE COUNTY.

     An act forming a separate county out of the county of White,* was approved February 8, 1821, as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Be it enacted, etc., That all that tract of country within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the southern line of Wayne County, on the line dividing Ranges 7 and 8 east, thence south with said range line to Gallatin County line; thence due west with said line eighteen miles to the eastern boundary of Franklin County; thence north to the Wayne Counly line, and thence east to the beginning, shall constitute a separate county to be  [footnote at bottom of page] * White County was created December 9, 1815.  <pg. 259> called Hamilton; and for the purpose of fixing the permanent seat of justice therein the following persons are appointed commissioners, to wit: James Ratcliff, Thomas F. Vaught, Joel Pace, Jesse B. Browne and Samuel Leach, which said commissioners, or a majority of them (being duly sworn before some judge or justice of the peace in this State to faithfully take into view the convenience of the people and the eligibility of the place), shall meet on the first Tuesday in April next at the house of John Anderson, in said county, and proceed to examine and determine on the place for the permanent seat of justice, and designate the same.
     Provided, the proprietor or proprietors of the land will give to the county, for the purpose of erecting public buildings, a quantity of land not less than twenty acres, to be laid out in lots and sold for that purpose, which place, fixed and determined upon, the said commissioners shall certify under their hands and seals and return the same to the next commissioners' court, in the county aforesaid, which court shall cause an entry thereof to be made thereof in their books of record, and until the public buildings shall be erected, the courts shall be held at the house of
John Anderson in said county.
     By the same act Hamilton County became a part of the Second Judicial Circuit.

COUNTY OFFICERS.

     Following are the names of the county court clerks: Jesse C. Lockwood, Daniel Marshall, John W. Marshall, Samuel A. Martin, John W. Marshall (the second time), John J. Buck and John Judd, the present clerk.
     County Treasurers: Jesse C. Lockwood; Richard W. Smith; W. P. Sneed, 1857-59; Job Standerfer, 1859-61; John Bond, 1861-63; E. W. Overstreet, 1865-67; Nathan Garrison, 1867-71; Thomas Anderson, 1871-73; John B. Standerfer, 1873-77; Joseph H. Upchurch, 1877-82; Leonard Bond, 1882-86, and John B. Standerfer, 1886 to present time.
     Circuit Court Clerks: Jesse C. Lockwood; J. P. Hardy; Joshua Shoemaker; A. J. Alden; G. W. Burton; B. W. Townshend; S. S. Price, 1868-72; B. F. Gullic, a short time; Jonathan Starkey, 1872-76; Joshua Sneed, a few months, finished out Starkey's term; B. F. Gullic, 1876-80; T. L. Lookhart, 1880-84; J. H. Upchurch, present clerk.
     Sheriffs: James Hall, Lewis Lane, Benjamin Hood, John Smith, William Maulding, Isaac Lasivell, James M. Lasater, <pg. 260> John Bond, John A. Wilson, Milton Carpenter, E. M. Bowers, J. H. McDaniel, Jarrett Maulding, T. L. Lockhart, Mark Harper, John T. Barnett, J. M. Blades, John B. Standerfer, James Maulding and W. D. Crouch.
     Surveyors: Thomas Sloo, Jr., Enos T. Allen, Cloyd Crouch, Flavins J. Carpenter, John T. Anderson, John Webb, whose term was served out by his deputy, Andrew Laswell, John Judd and A. C. Barnett.
     State's attorneys: James Robinson, Thomas S. Casey and R. W. Townshend; County State's attorneys: L. J. Hale, John C. Edwards and Leonidas Walker.
     County superintendents of schools: Lorenzo Rathbone, Nathaniel Harrelson, Hosea Vise, Leonidas Walker (during whose period of service the office was changed from school commissioner to county superintendent), George B. Robinson, John P. Stelle, R. G. Echols, Lafette Howard and Johnson H. Lane.

CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTIONS, ETC.

     In the constitutional couvention of 1847, Hamilton County was represented by James M. Lasater.  In that of 1862 Jefferson, Marion and Hamilton Counties were represented by H. K. S. Omelveny and T. B. Tanner.  The constitution framed by this convention was rejected by the people.  In the convention of 1870, Wayne and Hamilton Counties were represented by Robert P. Hanna.  Under the constitution of 1848, Hamilton County was in the Third Senatorial District with Jefferson, Wayne and Marion, and in the Sixth Representative District with the same counties.  Under the apportionment of 1854, Hamilton County was in the Twenty-third Senatoral [sic] District with Williamson, Saline, Franklin and White, and in the Eighth Representative District with Jefferson and Marion.  Under the apportionment of 1861, Hamilton was in the Second Senatorial District with Wabash, Edwards, Wayne, Clay, Richland, White and Lawrence, <pg. 261> and in the Tenth Representative District with Wayne.  Under the apportioniment of 1870, Hamilton County was in the Second Senatorial District with Wabash, Edwards, Wayne, Clay, Richland, White and Lawrence, and in the Eleventh Representative District alone.  Under the apportionment of 1872, Hamilton County was in the Forty-sixth Senatorial District with Jefferson and White and in the same Representative District.

MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE.

     Members of the State Senate from Hamilton County have been Thomas Sloo, Jr., of the Third General Assembly, 1822-24, and of the Fourth General Assembly, 1824-26; Ennis Maulding, of the Eighth General Assembly, 1832-34; Levin Lane of the Ninth General Assembly, 1834-36, and of the Tenth General Assembly 1836-38; Noah Johnson of the Eleventh General Assembly 1838-40, and of the Twelfth General Assembly 1840-42; Robert A. D. Wilbanks, of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth General Assemblies, 1842-44 and 1844-46; William J. Stephenson, Fifteenth General Assembly 1846-48; J. B. Hardy, Sixteenth General Asaembly, 1848-50; Hugh Gregg, Seventeenth General Assembly, 1850-52; and John C. Edwards of the Thirty-second and Thirty-third General Assemblies, 1880-82 and 1882-84.
     Members of the State House of Representatives from Hamilton County have been James Hall, 1826-30; John Davenport, 1830-32; James Hall, 1832-34; Milton Carpenter 1834-42; William Brinkley, 1842-46; Noah Johnson, 1846-48; John A. Wilson, 1852-54 and 1856-58; John McElvain, 1858-60; Cloyd Crouch, 1860-62; V. S. Benson, 1864-66; John Halley, 1868-70; Calvin Allen, 1870-72; Leonidas Walker and Robert Anderson, 1872-74; Hiram W. Hall, 1874-76; Thomas Connelly, 1876-78; Charles M. Lyon, 1878-80; James R. Campbell, 1884 and 1886-88.
     Samuel S. Marshall has been the only member of Congress <pg. 262> from Hamilton County serving from 1855 to 1859, and from 1865 to 1875, through seven Congresses, a period of fourteen years.

ELECTION RETURNS.

     Having given above a tolerable complete list of the officers elected from Hamilton County, to local, State and National offices, it is deemed sufficient now to present the vote of the different parties from time to time.  In 1824 Henry Clay received three votes in this county, the inmmortal three casting them being Gilbert Griswold, Jesse E. Lockwood, and Charles Phelps.  In 1828 these three and Abraham Isel thus voted.  In 1836, Martin Van Buren, Democratic candidate for President, received 265 votes, and William Henry Harrison, Whig candidate, 29.  In 1840, William Henry Harrison received 126 votes to 557 cast for Van Buren.  In 1844, James K. Polk received 373 votes and Henry Clay 125.  In 1848 Lewis Cass received 478 votes and Zachary Taylor 125.  In 1852, Franklin Pierce received 754 votes and Winfield Scott 223.  In 1856 James Buchanan received 1,185 votes and Millard Fillmore 162, and John C. Fremont 9.  In 1860, Stephen A. Douglas received 1,553 votes, Abraham Lincoln 102, and John Bell 99.  In 1864, George B. McClellan received 1,145 votes and Abraham Lincoln 382.  In 1868, Horatio Seymour received 1,284 and U. S. Grant 809.  In 1872, Horace Greeley received 1,188 and U. S. Grant 875.  In 1876, Samuel J. Tilden received 1,433 and R. B. Hayes 627.  In 1880, Winfield S. Hancock received 1,760 and James A. Garfield 1,002, and J. B. Weaver 499.  In 1884 Grover Cleveland received 1,940 votes, James G. Blaine 1,316, Benjamin F. Butler 68, and John P. St. John 48 – a total vote of 3,372.

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