Carrollton Patriot Newspaper
19 Jan 1906
A family of colored folks arrived in Carrollton and the race problem bade fair to cause some excitement in the public schools. (1876)
Transcribed 10 Dec 2002 by Shirley A. Aleguas
02 Feb 1906
The Whipping Post in Carrollton in 1832
by Dr. Samuel Willard
At the annual meeting of the Ill. Historical Soc., held in Springfield last week, a paper of unusual interest was read. It related personal reminiscences of its author, Dr. Samuel Willard, who is now in his eighty-fifth year and a resident of Chicago. Dr. Willard spent his boyhood in Carrollton and Greene county, coming here from Boston with his parents in 1831. They landed 25 miles from John Russell's house, after a journey of 27 days. Dr. Willard's narrative entire would fill more than two pages of The Patriot, but being composed mainly of incidents and sketches, we shall publish most of it in installments from time to time. These sketches will be worth preserving, for nothing of Greene county history has been so graphically told by an eye witness.

In view of the present agitation for the establishem of whipping posts Dr. Willard's account of the first and lonely public legal whipping administered in Carrollton as he saw it, is apropos. After telling of the first hanging, he says:

Another infliction of punishment which would now be more revolting in public than a hanging would be, I saw on the public square in Carrollton in 1832. There was then no penitentiaries in the state, hence other penalties had to take the place of confinement. Near the court house on the public square there was set a strong post, an unhewen log, ten feet high, with a crosspiece near the top. I saw a man brought from the jail by the sheriff and a constable, to be whipped thirty lashes for the theft of a horse. He was stripped naked to the hips, his hands were tied and the rope was carried to the crosspiece and drawn as tight as it could be without taking his feet from the ground. Then Sheriff Fry took that terrible instrument of punishment and torture, a rawhide. Probably many of you have not seen one. To make it a taper strip of soft, wet cow skin was twisted until the edges met, and the thing was dried in that position. It was hard, ridgy, and rough, but flexible as a switch, three-quarters of a yard long. The sheriff began laying strokes on the culprit's back, beginning near his neck and going regularly down one side of his backbone, the former sheriff Young counting the strokes aloud. Each stroke made a red blood-blister. When fifteen blows had been counted, the officer paused and someone ran to the poor wretch with a tumbler of whiskey. Then the other side of the man received like treatment. Then the man's shirt was replaced and he was led away to the jail. One of the bystanders said: "O, Lord! He isn't as bad cut up as G. H. was when L. M. flogged him three or four years ago." Boy as I was I did not know what a dreadful infliction it was. The whipping post remained there 2 or 3 years, but I never heard of any further use of it.
09 Feb 1906
Pestilence of '33
Cholera Epidemic in Greene
Recalled by Dr. Willard
One of the saddest incidents of early Greene County history was the cholera epidemic of 1833. Local historians, however, have told little of it beyond the bare statement that thirty-three deaths resulted from it in Carrollton. Dr. Willard, in the reminiscent paper read before the Illinois Historical Society two weeks ago gives a most graphic account of the epidemic and of the state of terror it produced among the pioneers. As stated last week, Dr. Willard now living in Chicago and in his eighty fifth year, was a boy in Carrollton in the early '30's. Following is his account of the epidemic.
"The pestilence described as Asiatic cholera was first described by a Portugese physician in 1560. A missionary doctor told me that it is always present in Hindostan. In 1817 it began a new career, moving westward from Bengal slowly, but steadily, until it had overrun Persia, and in 1823 had touched the borders of Russia. It lay dormant seven years and then moved forward again, now rapidly, in the direction of the great human migrations. It swept Russia in 1830, and ravaged England in 1832, having left a record of 900,000 dead on the continent. It appeared in Quebec June 8, 1832 and 14 days later it was in New York, and following the lines of commerce and travel along the Ohio and the Mississippi, it was, by late October of that year, in New Orleans, and St. Louis. Generally, but not always, the cold weather checked it.
"In a suppressed terror, as waiting an inevitable fate, the village of Carrollton looked for the arrival of the pestilence in 1833. Its poison went in the air, even now we know not wholly how. In some cases it verified Magendie's dictum to his class. "Gentleman, cholera is a disease the first stage of which is death." Its premonitary stage was on of painless purging and vomiting,; this was followed by sinking of all the powers of life, spasms, collapse and death. Sometimes the first stage was brief and the violent infection of the poison carried the recipient of it into the fatal stage at once. I was a patient with cholera in 1833, surviving three onsets of it. As a physician I met it in 1851.
"Sometimes the infection was so slight that persons of vigorous constitution seemed to throw it off. Such was the case with my father who never took to his bed and with my mother. She went to St. Louis in the spring of 1833 and soon after was very ill. Dr. Burritt said, after seeing cholera cases, that she had a touch of it.
"Before the middle of June, Mrs. Clemson, who had not been near our house, died of cholera. Instantly alarm spread through town. Many fled. Most of those who did not or could not flee thought flight hopeless for the poisoned air seemed to spread out over the land. The shops and stores were opened only when some one called specially on the proprietor. Nothing was brought in from the country. A townsman went out to get some chickens for the comfort of the convalescent. As he approached a farmhouse the question was shouted at him: "Did you come from town?" At the word "Yes" the family ran to the cornfield, leaving him to take what he could find. In town, the silence of night settled down upon the day, save as the physicians and well moved about in care of the sick.
"Are there any new cases?" was the word on meeting. The daily stage with the U.S. mail came and went as usual; other wheels rarely broke the silence, except as the dead were taken away from the desolated homes. The sound of the cabinetmakers tools might be heard as he made a coffin of unseasoned black walnut - there were no undertakers then…and the rank smell of the wood became to me so associated with this horror that for years I could not bear the odor.
There were no gatherings of people in groups. I do not remember any religious rites at the funerals, any word of hope of courage. I do remember bearing the doleful tones of Dundee once Sunday in the last of the sad time.
"In my father's family were eight persons, My mother's nurse, Ruth Rider, was taken suddenly and died soon. I was then taken sick. Rachel Scott, the hired help, but more an equal member of the family than of hireling, was a little ill when her brother came to take her to Pekin on the Illinois River, against advice, as if glad to get away, she went with him. While they waited for a boat, cholera came upon her. The family of the house where they were fled away. Her helpless brother stood by until she died. He now looked for help for a burial, but the only work was given rom a distance, "Dig a grave on the river bank; wrap her in the bed clothes, and cover her in it."
"June 25, my youngest brother, Charles, a sunny boy of four years, died of cholera; ten days later, I first saw death as I watched with my father and the doctor till brother John drew his last breath. Four of the eight were now gone. I remember the anxious face of my father a few days later when I went through a third crisis and survived, left the only child of my parents.
"In the haste of the frequent funerals, the memorials at the heads of the graves were ill marked or not marked, and few could tell where their dead were laid.
"At last life prevailed over death, and the plague abated as sinks a tidal wave. Of the 500 people of the town about 33, one in 16 I remember my father calculated, died in the (seven weeks or more of the) pestilence (I have no memorand?? of names). After a few weeks of rest my father and Dr. Burritt went to Jacksonville to give help there.
"One singular thing remained in our memories in the contrast with the sadness. It was noticed after the silence brooded over the town that every morning a mocking bird in a tree near our house would begin his song with all its rich variations, warbling and trilling with his rich voice. Starting on a lower branch as he sang he would fly (to one a little higher), then to another still higher, until at last he reached the top most spray. Then as if borne up by the stress and outburst of his own melody, still singing he would fly up a few feet into the air and sink back as if exhausted, soon to begin his solo again."
16 Feb 1906
Education in 1832
Carrollton Boys Learned Most by Observation
By Dr. Samuel Willard
Among his recollections of Greene County 75 years ago, as recounted in the paper read before the Illinois Historical Society, Dr. Samuel Willard tells something of the meager and very crude educational advantages of that period. There were none but private schools, and these were taught by any man who could get subscribers enough to pay him for his undertaking. No great scholarship was required of the teacher, as no pupil expected to learn more than the "three R's, readin', ritin', and 'rithmetic". Isaac R. Greene was teaching in Carrollton in 1831 and in the winter of 1831-32 Dr. Willards father, Julius A. Willard followed him. It seems that the latter was a progressive teacher and made a small blackboard for his little school out there in the far west, at a time when black boards were an innovation in the schools of cultured Boston. Dr. Willard says that Revel W. English was one of his father's older scholars. There was an older type of school still in vogue at the time known as the 'loud school'. In these schools pupils were not only permitted, but expected to study their lessons aloud. Silence was evidence that the pupil was idle or in mischief. Dr. Willard says that once he happened to be in a part of the town where he rarely went and heard a humming sound like the noise of a distant mill. Looking for its source, he approached a log cabin, and found a loud school. One pupil was studying his spelling lesson, another reading the stories in back of the spelling book, another struggling with the sevens in the multiplication tables, and so on, each doubtless striving to study hardier and louder than the others.
Speaking of one phase of education which it is impossible for a boy to obtain now, either in Carrollton or elsewhere, Dr. Willard says:
"One part of my real education, one practically (particularly) valuable, cannot be obtained by a boy in these days of factories and abounding commerce. In such a primitive community all the primary & necessary trades could be seen in their operations; & as the workmen found that I never touched tools or materials they allowed me considerable freedom in their shops and answered my reasonable questions. I saw the round logs drawn from the woods and squared into building timber by old John Dees broadax, queer with its handle set askew. I saw that what I think cannot now be seen anywhere in the U.S., the framing & raising of Joseph Garrish's house done in the old style. The timbers of two sides were framed or put together with treenails or pins, while the timbers of the other side were laid near where they would be wanted, every piece being marked and numbered. Then all the neighbors were invited to the 'raising', and these sides were lifted by, hands then by pikes and lastly by long poles, while Garrish & Dee guided the tendons of the corner posts into the mortises. Had they been careless or let the post slip the framing would have fallen in wreck, with loss of life. While a few guarded these erected sides, most went to set up the timbers and studs of the other two sides, where many hands, but less strength was required. Whether Mr. Garrish furnished the brown jug, usual upon such occasions, I do not remember; I suppose he did.
"For the finishing of the house no costly pine or soft wood was had. A rough shed was built in which oak boards were stacked on trestles loosely so that fires built under them might slowly expel the sap and so season them. Laborious planning took off the smoke & shaped them.
I saw the making of lime as it was done in Greece 25 centuries ago. A pile of hickory wood 8 or 10 feet high was topped with a load of broken limestone, the wood was fired and the next morning there remained only, the white ashes & the calcite stone turned to clear white lime.
I watched the work of the tanner with the raw hides and of he currier while he finished them. Then I saw the shoemaker and saddler in all the processes of their occupations. I scanned the work of the blacksmith and the Ferrier and learned its reasons. More familiar was the work in wood by the carpenter and cabinetmaker. When Smith & Baker built a sawmill and then a flourmill, I was the interested watcher of the whole proceeding. In the flouring mill I understood every step of the business, from the winnowing of the wheat to the barreling of the perfected flour.
"Pine lumber was, in those days, floating down the Mississippi in rafts which were broken up at St. Louis. The boards for Carrollton were brought up the Illinois River to Bushnells ferry, now Columbina, and taken thence in wagons. While they were in the river they become ingrained with sand, greatly, to the discomfort of the carpenter, and caused the early dulling of his planes, as I knew from experience.
"How to put up an ash-hopper and how to make soap, both soft & hard, I knew before I was 10 years old. The art of the cooper I did not see in Carrollton, but in 1835 in the shop of Irving Randall, I knew Elihu(sic) Palmer, afterward a noted Baptist preacher and his brother, John. both went to the academy out of which grew Shurtleff College, as fellow pupils with me. Thus it happened that I saw our late senator and governor, John McCauley Palmer, make his first barrel.
23 Feb 1906
Col. Edward D. Bakers Carrollton Days
The week of our arrival in Carrollton, in May of 1831, was one of excitement & stir in the little town. There was to be the wedding of Edward Dickinson Baker, a young man not yet 21, with the widow Lee, older than he. I am not sure whether I then heard for the first time that French custom the charivari or shivaree, a mock serenade of tin pans & horns often inflicted on ill-mated couples. I heard one that year, if not then. Baker was popular, and if some thought that he married for money, it was hardly made a fault. Certain it is that business thrived thereafter in the store of Sullivan & Baker, and in the mills, which they built. Moses O. Bledsoe and old lawyer, clerk of the circuit court, and probably the most influential man in Greene County favored Baker & led him to study law. The liking was certainly reciprocated, Baker following Bledsoe's lead & was even called Bledsoe's shadow.
The camplellite Baptists were making many converts in 1832 & when Bledsoe became one of them Baker soon followed. One Sunday I went with my mother to their church & and there I learned what was abundantly proved afterward, that Baker, young & untrained was an orator by nature. The church was without a minister and was served somewhat Quaker fashion by inspiration of the brethren. Report of Baker's exhortations had led my mother to go there. After I know not what of dull discourse by some one, Baker stepped into the pulpit. His motions were easy & graceful, his voice was full, but clear, sweet and smooth. His thoughts were pertinent uttered in pure English, warmed by feeling & adorned with metaphors born of a fertile imagination. That all this should come vividly to me now, after the lapse of three fourths of a century - for I even remember something that he said - shows how impressive was his speech. I know that he moved men wherever he spoke.
From Carrollton, Baker went to Springfield & there became the partner of the oldest son of Moses O. Bledsoe, Albert Taylor Bledsoe. Baker went to congress & afterwards took part in the Mexican war as colonel of an Illinois regiment. He went to California in 1852 & won fame in politics, but California was to hopelessly under pro-slavery Democracy. He went to Oregon and won a Republican victory there, and was sent to the Senate in 1860. On his way east he called to see his friend Lincoln, so that I saw him in Springfield in December of that year and talked with him. I can still call up to my vision his face as it was darkly clouded by the anxiety which he felt in common with all patriots from that time forward. Less than a year later impetuously leading his men as commander of a brigade he fell in the Battle of Balls Bluff.
02 Mar 1906
Politics & Religion in Carrollton in 1832
by Dr. Samuel Willard
I watched the whole process of the election of members of congress & local officers in Greene County in 1832, my father being a clerk at the election. In preparation large sheets of paper were ruled into columns, a broad one for the names of the voters, and as many narrow ones as there were candidates for the offices, their names being written at the heads of the columns. The voter came up & declared for whom he voted, the 2 or 3 clerks recording his declaration. It was slow work, but the voters were not many and there was no crowding or haste. I remember that my father said to the other clerks and judges of the election, "While we are waiting for voters, let us do our voting." There were three candidates for congress and one got so few votes that I wondered that he ran at all. He was Sydney Breese, later a famous man in the state.
The viva voce method gave friends of local candidates an advantage, since they could keep track of the election and call in laggard voters for their candidates or party. but independent or whimsical voting was difficult. The ballot was introduced in 1848.
I may record it as part of my Illinois training that my father took a Whig newspaper, the Illinois Patriot, and before I was eleven years old I was familiar with the names of the leading politicians of the nation, Andrew Jackson and his cabinet, and with the vehement political controversies then going on.
The people of Carrollton & the vicinity were mostly of southern & western births. They called those who came from Pennsylvania and New York Yankees. I do not remember anything but good feeling & hospitality on the part of the people towards the easterners, unless the latter in some way assumed superiority. Each side naturally felt some amusement at the different ways of the other, but expression of the feeling was good-natured.
The New Englander had to give up Thanksgiving or celebrate it in his own home only. It was harder to adopt the western enjoyment of Christmas since the Yankees had for 200 years opposed the festivals of the English & the Roman churches. The children were easy converts.
The Methodist church pioneer Protestant body in the west was early in the field in Carrollton, but in 1832 the easterners were so numerous that a Presbyterian church was formed into which the Congregationalists went and a revival meeting added to both churches & caused the formation of a Baptist church. that was organized by the greatest Baptist preacher in the state, who is memorable for his share in the warfare of 1823-24, when a strong effort was made to turn Illinois into a slave state. John M. Peck was one of the mighty ones on the side of freedom. he traversed the state in a thorough canvass, preaching the gospel & liberty alike. He was at this time (1832) forty-three years old and still in his prime. I count myself fortunate in having seen three of the leaders in that fight, Judge Samuel Drake Lockwood, John Mason Peck, and Thomas Lippincott. The latter was in 1824 a politician, but was the first pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Carrollton.

Editor of the Patriot: When I wrote my paper of my remembrances of the early days when I was a boy in your town, I had not a thought of the interest that the people of that place might have in hearing of what went on there so long ago. I thank you for the copies of the Patriot which you sent me, which I had what I said of the cholera & the whipping post. I scanned the papers eagerly & closely to see what surnames I could find that would be familiar, recalled from the vanished years. I found four names that were right in both surname & given name.
Ornan Peirson in 1832 was a salesman for Robert Negus, who kept a store on the east side of the street that leads out northward from the northeast corner of the public square. This original Pierson had a pleasant face, dark hair & black eyes. Mr. Negus had a habit of walking to & fro on the porch which ran along the front of his store & passing coins from one hand to the other to enjoy the clank. His wife had the cholera toward the close of its run & recovered.
Elon Eldred lived out west of town. I should say that an Elon, Jr. and his brother Jeduthun went to the Sunday school which I attended. I see 4 other Eldreds mentioned & a friend tells me that she had pupils of the Eldred name in her school at Macoupin County. the original stock was good.
John Hardcastle was a cabinetmaker on the north side of the block west of the square. I remember seeing in his shop wild cherry lumber on which work was done & I heard him say that with aquafortis he could make a food imitation of mahogany. I see in The Patriot names of John, Ella & Robert Hardcastle, whom I presume to be descendants of the man whom I knew. George Bowman is another remembered name. He was a farmer living south of the town and I think, but am not sure, that he was the man who made and ox work in the shafts like a horse. Some man who lived south did that, perhaps Taylor was the man.
I see the name of Reno. Mr. Reno lived south of the square on the east street which was the road to St. Louis. he kept a hotel, built in southern fashion, with two-story porch in front. I do not recall Mr. Reno but I remember Mrs. Reno was a woman of very pleasant face and manner.
The Turney family lived not far from the Renos. I noticed the name Pegram, but I cannot place my recollections of this family. Your notice of the death of William Alexander Pegram says he became a resident in 1845, but that is too late for me.
One other name I find, Georgia Meldrum. the Meldrum family lived perhaps 1/8 the mile south of the square. I was sent to Mrs. Meldrum for milk some mornings when we had no cow.
All other names in The Patriot are entirely foreign to my recollections of Carrollton. I expected to find more names of those I knew, but their absence is hardly strange when I remember that nine of those I knew left the town in the few years during which Carrollton was not unfamiliar to me. If this is of value to you I may find time to tell more of my recollections of Carrollton & Greene County.
02 Mar 1906
Threw Egg at Lady Teacher
A mean cowardly assault made by a pupil upon one of the lady teachers of the H. school has occasioned great indignation the past 2 days, & public opinion now demands that hoodlumism in the schools must be stopped.
Wed. forenoon, while other teachers were out hearing recitations Miss White was left alone in charge of the H. school assembly room. She was busy for a few minutes placing some work on the blackboard, & while her back was turned, an egg, hurled by someone at the rear of the room, passed closed to her head, brock against the blackboard directly in front of her, & splashed over her clothing.
The act was evidently premeditated but no pupil would admit doing it or seeing any one do it. Teachers were indignant at the outrage, & several of them declared they would resign unless the matter was thoroughly investigated and the perpetrator punished.
The board of Education had a special session that evening, & a no. of the High School boys were called up to tell what they knew of the affair. With one accord they refused to name the culprit or declared they did not know. The board was in seasion until nearly midnight, & succeeded in getting only circumstantial evidence, which however every member felt satisfied was correct and, on the strength of that, they voted to suspend the boy implicated until further developments. The supposed perpetrator of the assault belongs to a prominent, highly respected family & was never thought capable of so unmanly an act.
One of the worse features of the affair is that the pupils deliberately lie to shield each other. Somehow they have acquired a totally wrong notion of honor, & they seem to think it manly to side with the law-breaker, rather than with the execution of law. For what sort of citizenship as these boys being prepared. IN what positions of trust & responsibility will they be wanted.
09 Mar 1906
Alfred Johnson, Will Fergeson & Lester Robley have been suspended from the high school for connection with the egg throwing case last week. The 1st name confessed to being the egg thrower.
Miss White, the innocent victim of the assault, tendered her resignation as a teacher in the High school. The school board wished her to remain and voted to grant her a vacation of a week. She insisted, however, upon resigning & she departed Saturday afternoon for her home in Warrensburg, Ill.
Miss White’s departure, especially under the circumstances that caused her leaving, is greatly regretted. She had proved herself a teacher of considerable ability. Beside her regular work in the High School, she had charge of, & had developed much interest in, the physical culture work. She also helped materially in the music of the school.
23 Mar 1906
No Rats Before '33
More Local Reminiscences
By Dr. Samuel Willard
I think that few people are aware that our plague, the rat, is a later comer to America than the white man. He is a Tatar; he entered Eastern Europe soon after 1700, and reached England about the time of Braddock’s defeat. Like the white man, it is not strange then, that in 1831, I saw men looking with curiosity at a dead rat on the levee in St. Louis as Chicago boys would look at a dead raccoon in the street. In 1833, there were no rats in Carrollton except in the warehouse of John Evans, and in the 2 or 3 houses next it.
But in 1831, prairie wolves used to come within a half-mile of the village and I heard them take toll of pigs, which beast acted as scavengers and ran loose, like the cows. There were no laws for in closure of animals; the fields and the gardens must be fenced; which was done at that time in the most economical way. After the corn was gathered gaps were left in the fences and the cows of the village found fodder in the stalks and the omitted ears.
A “painter” that is a panther, or really cougar, was said to infest the woods of Carrollton at that time, but there really was one near Upper Alton and even on the road between that place and lower Alton in the year 1838.
Strawberries were not cultivated, but delicious small ones were abundant in the grass of the prairies, tiny but sweet. I went into the woods to gather luscious plums for preserves; the canning of fruit was yet to be invented. The tomato was in 1828 regarded as a mere garnish to adorn the edge of the meat platter. Many thought it poisonous, since it belongs to the family of the belladonna or nightshade. By 1832 my parents, who were pioneers in experiments, were eating tomatoes as everybody does now.
The New Englanders in Illinois missed the golden glow of the dandelion in the grass and wrote to their friends to bring seed when they should come and thus it was introduced.
The country people of Greene County brought little of their produce to the town except cordwood, grain for the mill and peaches, apples and potatoes in their seasons. The women brought chickens alive, eggs and butter. Of the quality of the butter there could be no boast. Mr. Alexander said to one of his customers: If you had left a little more buttermilk in it, I could have squeezed out a good drink.
An English woman who was noted for the excellence of her butter, thought that there was not ventilation enough of the dairies, and using a superfluous "H" she said to my mother: "They don't give it hair enough." But I saw some samples which could have been improved by putting the hair on one plate and the butter on another. Time and the perception of the demands of the market improved the butter.
In this land of strange customs it disgusted me to see people eating loppered milk, calling it bonnydabber, when at my grandfather's, I had seen it as pig’s food only. In most things, the Yankees soon accommodated themselves to western ways and used the open fire and dutch oven as if accustomed to them all their lives. But in a few years, stoves largely displaced the open fire for cooking in the farm houses as well as in the villages. 10 years saw a great change in that matter.
Transcribed 06 Dec 2002 by Linda Jones Craig
Apr 1906 possibly
More Local Reminiscences
By Dr. Samuel Willard
Carrollton of 70 years ago had not a single 3 story house. there were a few of brick and there were some log houses. I have related that the ‘Lorid School’ was in a log house
As the streets bore no names and I do not know how they are now named, I shall name them for my convenience thus: The street on the north side of the square I shall call North 1st Street, that on the east side of the square East 1st Street, and so on; thus the reader can easily make out the locations I refer to.
On North 1st Street, beginning at the northeast corner of the square was the Carrollton Hotel, kept by Mr. Gatesby Gill, and easy going fleshy man of middle age who comes up to my vision sitting comfortably and smoking a pipe; for the hotel business was never lively. With his son, Thomas, who was a little older than I, I formed an eternal friendship; and when Mr. Gill sold out and moved to Salem, Marion County, Thomas and I exchanged letter 2 or 3 times and lost sight of each other forever after. West of the hotel I remember the store of Smith & Baker; and further along, the dwelling in which the first victim of cholera, Mrs. Clemson, lived. Her son was one of my playmates. Then there lay next the brick house of the widow Lee, who married E. D. Baker; it occupied 2 lots and cornered on the West First Street. Frank Lee went to Springfield with Mr. Baker, being 9 or 10 years old when his mother married again.
I cannot name all the houses and their occupants of the building next west, on the diagonal corner, in which I saw a man sitting before a hot fire in July, seeking comfort in the ague fit of intermittent fever, which was called generally "Fever Nager". Next west was Moses Stephens, who moved away before 1834. Next I remember was Mr. Sawyer - I am not quite sure of the name who owned the building west of his house that was used for school and church purposes. In 1836 I found the Sawyer family on a farm a few miles south of Jacksonville. In that school house I heard "Father" Clark, an eloquent, earnest and famous preacher of the Methodist church of that time, then fully 70 years old; I heard John Brick an Englishman who dressed in the old style with knee breeches, he was over 80 but continued at his evangelistic work until one day he was overcome by the cold of a hard winter day; he was found seated on the found by a tree, frozen stiff. In that house the Presbyterian met and formed the Presbyterian Church and there Elder Dodson preached from the text "Prepare to met thy God" in such style that I wanted to run away from God as a tyrant and a terror.
Next on the same side of the street lived Dr. Dulaney, who had children, Marshall, Sophia, William and Edna, the last died of cholera. I think that none of the family remained in Carrollton: Sophia married a man from Jacksonville. Right opposite Dr. Dulaney in the house belonging to "Tice" - That is Mathias - Link, Mr. J.A. Willard lived on arriving in the town. It was at the corner of West Second Street on the west side of which Joseph Garrish put up his house, the jail being a little south of him. Turning from my father’s east toward the square come first to Hardcastles cabinet shop and dwelling. Who next on the corner of West First and the square I can not say; it seems to me that Dr. Orange B. Heaton, who married Moses O. Bledsoes oldest daughter lived there. Turning south along the west side of the square, the next house is that of Moses O. Bledsoe, built in southern style, with broad two-story porch. Mr. Bledsoe might be called chief man of the town; he was a lawyer, clerk of the circuit court, with sufficient income; his son Albert T had graduated from West Point, but had resigned and entered the ministry of the Episcopal Church, his son William was still at home, but it seems to me that he died of cholera. His older daughter married Dr. Heaton.
Mr. Bledsoe had the largest library in the town and the newest books. It pleased him to find such a bookish boy as I was and he used to lend me books.
Next across the alley was a small one-story house which our family occupied for a short time. Further south at the corner of the square lived Dr. Alexander Hamilton Burritt, who in 1834 or 1835 moved to the rising town of Jerseyville and about the same time there went thither the families of Garrish, Page and Farley, which had come to Carrollton in the summer of 1831.
On South 1st Street west of the square I remember but one resident whose face and figure I remember better than that of his modest daughter Jane. On this south side of the square the Willard family lived during the cholera; next east were the warehouses of John Evens; then the home of the Rev. Thomas Lippincott; then the house and lastly the store of that lover of fun Andrew Alexander. This store was at the corner of the 2 streets. Mr. Alexander soon moved to Alton. He complained that the rich soil of Greene County, after a rain made a man a landholder, whether or no.
Now let us cross the East 1st Street and see the rest of South First. On the diagonal corner stands what was then called a grocery; now called a saloon - kept by Timothy O. Vigus. As the little building stood on the corner of the lot on which was the house occupied by our family, and as I had a boys curiosity, I saw much of "The Grocery". The business of liquor - selling then bore none of the stigma that attaches to it now, when the great order of Odd Fellows and some similar orders refused to admit a saloon keeper or bar-tender and class them with professional gamblers.
There was no-screen in Vigus's grocery; a table stood in full view, where I often saw men playing dominoes. I can not remember that I over saw a game of cards played there; nor did I ever see a man to near intoxication to walk to his horse to mount, though some had perhaps passed the bounds of discretion.
Further east was the house occupied by Willard and next was Dixon H. Kennett; the hatter, whose daughter Agnes was, in my opinion the prettiest girl in town. Further east lived Major Ranney with whose sons Charles Lippincott and I had a boyish feud without reason. There was some throwing of stones but on both sides the dodge was better than the throw. Last that I remember on that street was John Williams, the butcher.
Now return to the public square. At the corner the Condell brothers kept a store. Next going north, was the house and store of John Evans, a brick building; then to the alley was Mortimer Kennett, store and dwelling house. In the store was the Post Office. My father was, for a year before he moved to Alton, salesman for Kennett and lived in the house. Here I saw the operations of the Post Office as described in my historical address. Across the alley was Keach, the saddler with a journeyman and apprentice named Hart.
Further north was Scott, the tailor, and others I cannot recall. At the diagonal corner was the store of A.W. Caverly and Justus Rider. Now going north we come to the store of Robert Negus, whom I mentioned in my letter to the Patriot of March 2nd. A little further the road slopes to the north slightly and on the right was the house of Squire Caverly, built in southern style with 2-story porch front. I was told that Mr. Caverly had been state senator from that district. His wife was noted as a beauty and I remember her sweet attractive ways. She died in the Home for the Incurables in Chicago about 1890; and I went to look at her face after the interval of nigh sixty-years; but oh, disease and age had left not a trace of the early beauty! Next was the brick house of Justus Rider, which was struck by lightening before it was finished. The Rider family, I found in Bunker Hill in 1840.
Then we come to the McFaddens tannery with his home adjoining. I remember Mrs. McFadden because from her I first heard the western tern of endearment to a child, ‘Honey’. It really confused me. A little further north lived Mrs. Polly Rider, widow of a brother to Justus. She had a daughter Eveline. Right across the street lived a man whose name I cannot recall, though I remember it began with H, and his nephew was William Hayden; he and his cousin were but little older than I.
Going south from the corner of the square on East First Street, we come presently to the tavern on the left kept by Skidmore and later by Downey; on the right to Reno’s hotel and the Turney residence. And pushing on, we reach the home of the first of the apostles, Simon Peter in presiding elder in the M.E. church.
Going east from the northeast corner of the square we pass the office of Dr. J. B. Samuel and within less than 1/2 mile we come to the houses of Sperry and George B. Ranney, the latter was made postmaster, superseding Kennett, who was much provoked at the change; he moved not long after to St. Louis. On this street not far from the square was the church where I heard E. D. Baker in the pulpit. On the same street west of the square about a mile I should think lived Mr. Lancaster, one of whose sons was a cripple from rheumatism, with legs permanently doubled under his thighs because of stiff knees. He moved about by means of short crutches held in his hands. Still further west lived Dr. Isaiah Potts and old man.
In the letter you published March 2, I mention the families of Pierson, Hardcastle, Eldred, Reno, Meldrum, Turney and Negus as coming within my remembrance; I now add the families of Fry and English which I cannot locate, though I know members of them. The same I must say of George Borroughs, (I hope I spelled the name as he did) who was in my fathers school. Of people in the vicinity I remember on the north the Miller Morfoot, and a farmer name Ogle. East of town lived the Tunnells, south Bowman and Taylor and 2 or more miles southwest was a man well fitted with the name Good.
I have given you a pretty long string of my remembrances of the people of 70 years ago. I could add little more of that sort. I am not willing to give shadowy half-certain impressions; I will add some incidents.
There was an imbecile man, between 20 and 30 years of age, as I remember him, who, being harmless, was allowed to wander at his own will. Every body treated him kindly. When going around he was always talking to himself or shouting so that his noise attracted little attention, persons hearing it would only, say or think "there's Jimmy again". One winter morning after a freeze had followed a period of soft muddy streets, all Carrolltonians were shocked to hear that Jimmie was found flat on his back frozen to death. Somebody had with kindness in his heart given him a taste of liquor and when he fell he was unable to rise from his muddy bed, or perhaps did not try, and those who heard his noise thought nothing of it. But someone who heard this story put it into verse with reflections on the inhumanity of the people of the town where it occur, and these verses appeared in the Ill. Patriot of Jacksonville. Mr. E.D. Baker wrote a sort of reply in verses as good at least as those of the Patriot, but I doubt if he ever sent them.
In 1833 - 4 there was a half-crazy man named Hale who used, in the winter, to earn a living by cutting wood for the housewives. He was sure to appear at someone’s woodpile on a cold morning, to chop a short time and then to go into the house and get some breakfast which was hospitality given. On going out he would not return to the same woodpile, but would transfer his attention to another pile enter another house and eat another meal. I heard a lady declare that she had traced him one morning to three breakfasts won in that way. At least the last place he liked to sit by the fire and deal out some of his crazy fancies, which were sometimes quite entertaining. He was crazed by a fall which broke his skull pieces of which were missing.
I wish I could locate the following incident, but I can say only that the place was somewhere south of the square and the time was the winter of 1833 – 4. The cry of 'fire' fortunately a rare one - startled the people of the village and the men rushed to the spot, guided by the light. It was a small log cabin - they were never large- and the poor women who lived in it were in a group outside, looking hopelessly at the blaze. I heard one of them say "Oh, it's got to go!" There was crusted snow on the ground a few inches deep. 25 or 30 men were soon at hand. Then I saw Mr. Condell, the merchant, pick up a big crust of snow and hurl it against the fire. Instantly all imitated him, so that in 10 minutes there was not a spark to be seen. It had been more fun to put out the fire by playing with snowballs.
Apr 1906 possibly
Baker & Bledsoe
Dr. Willard contrasts these men with Lincoln
The concluding paragraphs of Dr. Willards reminiscences, given in his paper before the State Historical Society, related to the arrest of himself and his father for assisting a fugitive salve to escape in 1843. This was after they left Carrollton and while they were living in Morgan County. They went to Springfield and made an ineffectual attempt to employ a lawyer. Edward D. Baker, Judge Stephen T. Logan and others declined. The list of Springfield attorneys was exhausted, save one - Abraham Lincoln - who they were advised was too little known to give their cause the needed prestige.
In these closing paragraphs of Dr. Willards narrative, 2 of the men mentioned had in the beginning of their manhood lived in Carrollton. Edward D. Baker studied law here, and his partner Moses O. Bledsoe, who was one of the pioneer lawyers of this place. The third - Lincoln - was attorney at various times in cases tried in court here. Dr. Willard says:
The first day of our search for an advocate I had remained some hours in the office of Baker and Bledsoe several men came in, among them a gaunt faced awkward long limbed man, who took a law book from a case and sat down on a chair rather too low for him. I noticed the long leg thrown back and doubled up under the long thigh like that of a grasshopper. I wondered about his make up. Someone called him Lincoln and he smilingly replied. I had not heard the name before, but remembered the man for his notable physical peculiarities.
In that office I saw at the same time 3 men, Lincoln, Baker, and Bledsoe, whose future no one could have guessed, even with the wildest imagination enlisted for the task. Bledsoe was of a logical mind acute, learned, versatile, able and even powerful in any field of thought except natural science, in which he was untried. He had graduated at West Point then taught mathematics, next studied theology and was ordained an Episcopal clergyman, but turned to law. Before the Supreme Court, where the humor and common sense of Lincoln and the eloquence of Baker would have availed little, the logic of Beldsoe would have outdone Logan, or have adorned that bench itself.
Had one who knew the 3 men been told that one of the 3 should become the President of the U.S. and were he then bidden to point him out, he would have said: Baker is not the man, for he was born in England, besides eloquence doesn't win. See Clay and Webster, and earlier, Fisher Ames and Pinckney. Lincoln will do for Sangamon county or to go to Congress from this district, but if the lightening of presidential nomination hits him, it will hi the wrong man; he has more risk of being hit by the real article. Bledsoe must be the man. But when we look back we see it was the fate of Baker to share in a war with Mexico, to go to a land yet to be snatched from that power, to become senator from a region then tenanted by Indians and hunters only and to lay down his life for the preservation of a nation into whose allegiance he was not born.
Bledsoe was in 5 years to leave his law books to sink his splendid powers in the humdrum of a professor of mathematics in a southern university, gaining time to write 2 books, One a theodicy to defend the glory of God, which was needless. the other to defend the glory of Negro slavery which was vain. Then when the trumpet called to arms, Colonel Bledsoe became assistant secretary of war for the Confederacy, and went down with it. He wrote books afterward, the most notable one being entitled, Is Davis a Traitor?
But the third man, that ungainly, uneducated man what of him? His fame is eternal. A thousand pens have written his history; ten thousand tongues proclaim it. I need not. The man of the great heart was found to be the man with the great brain, worthy to rank with Washington, but better known and better loved for to him God gave the courage, the spirit, the love, the wisdom and the opportunity to save the nation.
17 Aug 1906
When the first white settlers set foot upon the soil of what is now Greene County, it was a part a very small part-of Madison County. In 1818 Madison County extended northward to the shores of Lake Superior, and its western boundary nearly all the way was the Mississippi River. If this country hadn't then under township organization is with a member of the County Board from each congressional township, that board would have exceeded in size both houses of the present National Congress and some of its members would have had to travel-on horseback, of course six or seven hundred miles to attend its meetings at Edwardsville, the county seat.
The interest that has been awake and the past year or two in Illinois history has developed nothing of greater importance than a set of twenty-three maps which I published in the Illinois Blue Book for 1905, recently issued from the office of Secretary of State to Rose. These maps show all the successive changes of County names and boundaries from 1790 to the present time.
In 1790 the aborigines of Greene County dealt within the boundaries of St. Clair County, Northwest Territory. St. Clair was then the only county lying exclusively within the present lines of the state, and it occupied the southwest portion, from the Illinois to the Ohio River. Three points were designated for holding court in St. Clair County-Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher and Kaskaskia.
In 1801 this became Indiana Territory, and St. Clair County covered about nine tenths of what is now Illinois.
In 1812 St. Clair was reduced to modest proportions and Madison County was formed, taking in everything north to Canada. Ninian Edwards, governor of Illinois territory, designated the House of Thomas Kirkpatrick as the seat of justice for the County.
Various changes were made in boundary lines, and other counties were created, but this section remained a part of Madison County until Greene was organized January 20th of 1821. The map representing the state at that shows Greene County occupying the present territory of this and Jersey counties, with the on organized territory of Morgan, Scott and Macoupin also attached to it. It was bounded by Sangamon, Montgomery and Madison Counties and the Illinois River. Pike County organized the same year, occupied all the state, north and west of the Illinois River. Greene was the twenty-first County organized.
Morgan County was cut off from Greene in 1823, Macoupin County in 1831, and Jersey in 1839.
These maps showing the history of Illinois counties constitutes one of the most interesting features of the blue book, and it is a matter of local interest that they were prepared by Stephen L. Spear, chief clerk of the indexing Department and the secretary of state's office; indeed, the compilation of the entire book of over 700 pages was under his personal supervision. Mr. Spear was a Greene County schoolteacher some years ago, and has numerous friends here. In a prefatory note, Secretary of State Rose gave credit to Mr. Hester and it is for whatever merit to the present and past issues of the blue book may possess. The current is a most complete and valuable book of reference of Illinois political history, and it is so perfectly indexed that one may get almost any desired information in a momentous pursuit.
02 Nov 1906
Bluffdale Schools in the Early Part of the Last Century Described by the
Late Pioneer – The Log School House of ‘34
The late Spencer G. Russell left to his eldest daughter, Mrs. Pauline Lair, the manuscript volume of memoirs which he had written. This manuscript abounds in incidents in his own life and of pioneer days in Greene County. Mrs. Lair has kindly consented to prepare a series of extracts from the volume for The Patriot and these will appear from time to time in these columns.
Mr. Russell’s father, referred to in the following sketch, was Prof. John Russell, the pioneer editor, teacher and author, whose home at Bluffdale was often sought by literary men from the east.
I do not remember of ever having learned to read or count. The first school I ever attended was kept by mother in a little log office that father had built for a study an library.
In this school I read in Noah Webster’s elementary spelling books in a class of little boys and girls.
They cut a log out of one end of the house for more light, and over this opening was hung a board on leather hinges which was let down during wet weather, and in good weather was propped up with a stick.
I was very fond of going to school, for the company it afforded me, rather than for any great desire for learning.
In 1830, mother taught school in the cabin Ed Pilcher built, which was quite an expensive institution, compared with the other school cabin. This was quite a large school. Lydia A. Day, afterwards wife of Charles Robley, and mother of Arthur, Walter, Henry and a whole generation more Robleys, was one of the oldest scholars. She gave me a “Young Reader,” the first book of the kind I ever had. It had in it the story and picture of “Justice Moakley and the Cats” and the “Discontented Squirrel,” both of which stories made a lasting impression on me during my whole life. Also the, to me, wonderful poem of
“The old white hen with yellow legs,
That laid her _____ many ____
Which them the best the boys had taken
To put to _____ or fry with bacon.”
In this school was first used Pierpants National Reader in which was published father’s famous article “The Venomous Worm,” I used to listen to the older ones read of the horrid worm, and wonder why folks were such fools as to go back and get bitten again after having suffered so much from the first bite. I did not get hold of the gist of the story.
A great many went to this school, of whom all but two or three have passed over to the Great Majority. Three score years ago!
About 1834, mother kept school in the front room of the house that is my present home, where she taught two winters and summers. Father taught one winter with a room full of young men.
At father’s school Louise Spencer, afterward my wife, and I studied “Catharine Beecher’s Geography for My Children.” I was wonderfully taken with it. Stephen had bought Louise one from a peddler, and I gave father no rest until he sent by mail got me one.
During mother’s school I read with the whole school in the New Testament. A missionary society in the east had sent to father a box of little red Testaments to distribute to the western heathen. So the “big class”, in fact, all who were out of the spelling book, read in these Testaments for want of other readers. Father, on one occasion said publicly, “If you were not my son, I would say you were the best reader in the class,” which gratified me prodigiously.
Virginia Orr came to school. She was a bad one. Mother had lots of trouble with her. Mother used to “pin ‘em up” when they acted badly, that is pin some part of their dress to hers and make them walk around with her. We thought it was awful to be “pinned up”. She had Virginia “penned up” about half the time. Virginia once said she “wished the whole school was dead and in – heaven!” Mother told her “it was well she said heaven.” We all knew she undoubtedly meant the other place.
Once she had a pin and was pointing it at Sam Haught when Charlie Robley hit her arm and the pin went into Sam about an inch. Sam squealed out “Miss Russell ! Miss Russell ! Virginia

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