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Gallatin County, Illinois







Thanks to the Miner family for making them available on line.









Except for occasional travelers, hunters or soldiers who crossed this way, the first white people who came to Gallatin County were probably those who came to the Half Moon Lick located about one mile West or up the Saline River, or the Salt Spring three miles SE or down river from Equality to evaporate or trade for salt. Whether they were here a short or longer time depended upon whether they came only for their own needs or for trade or sale to others. The Shawnee Indians of this area were in and out and usually cooperative and friendly.


The fact that salt is a necessity to the well being, if not the existence, of man or beast explains the many deep‑cut animal and Indian trails leading to the salines from all directions. These trails usually followed the shortest and best drained route between the fords and were usually used and often widened to 16 feet for wagon use by the white settlers and salt producers and workers who began coming in increasing numbers soon after 1803.


Salt could at times be used as money, and an early traveler wrote that the Gallatin Salines were the only salt source west of Marietta, Ohio, as late as 1796. At this time there were established settlements at Cahokia and Kaskaskia as well as scattered settlers over this the Tri‑state area.


The territorial government began to take note of the importance of the salines about 1800, and on March 3, 1803, congress authorized the leasing of the licks and spring. During the same year territorial Governor Harrison negotiated a treaty with the Indians and then leased the salines to a Capt. Bell of Ky. (See the Salines of Southern Ill. by Prof. Geo. W. Smith)


Much has been written about the salt well lease‑operators and the extent of their operations. It required 75 or more gallons of water to produce a bushel of salt. Some of the old kettles in which salt water was boiled are still in the vicinity. They were of cast iron, 4 or more feet long, holding 60 to 100 gallons of water. They were placed in rows of 20 to 30 over an earthen or rock‑sided fire pit with a chimney in the end. With 10 of these furnaces in operation, 200 or more bushels of salt could be produced. However with the number of furnaces increasing, they were soon hauling firewood 3 or 4 miles. This was required for each 20 to 30 ax‑men. As many as ten 4 mule teams hauling or dragging wood to the furnace, a half dozen firemen, as many to draw water and tend the kettles, coopers, salt packers, salesmen, timekeepers, boarding house keepers, hoop‑pole merchants and usually hangers on by the score. In addition there were the freighters who hauled much of the salt to Shawneetown for shipment, bringing needed supplies on the return trip. This explains the rapid increase in population.


I recall a story of a young man living in Christian County, Kentucky, who had obligated himself for a friend's debt, with no chance to get cash at home he came to work at the salt works. Here he cleared 25¢ each day, and after many weeks saved enough to pay the debt and returned home. His buckskin breeches would hardly bend because they had absorbed so much salt.

















Of the many who leased the salines, perhaps the most remembered is John Hart Crenshaw, (1797‑1871), who built the fine old home on Hickory Hill overlooking his many acres. It was built during the middle to late 1830s and is located almost 2 miles North of the salt spring. Much has been written about this old mansion, which is now widely advertised as the Old Slave House and open to the public for a fee. During his last lease period, starting 12‑9‑1840, salt prices tumbled due to new discoveries. Where it had sold for $5 per bushel, it then sold for less than the cost of production, which soon ceased.


The early territorial and state laws permitted slavery only on the salt reserve in Illinois and only until 1825. This was permitted because of the demand for labor, often unsatisfied. The slaves had a right to refuse to work unless the compensation was satisfactory, a stated time of work for a stated amount of pay. There were prosecutions of violation suspects until the 1840s. The state constitution of 1818 forbade contracts lasting more than one year. Many slaves received their freedom after work at the salt works, some from grate­ful owners, others from buying their own freedom with money saved often by extra work.


A few years ago I visited the salt spring and was astonished at the quan­tity of earthen‑ware pan fragments in an adjoining cultivated field of a few acres. This indicated Indian salt making here for many, many generations. The French were the first white people to operate here, but only to satisfy their limited needs, it is believed. In 1763 after the French and Indian War, they ceded the area to the English. An English traveler in 1766 wrote that he left the Wabash in the evening, stopped next morning at the Salt Run where any quan­tity of good salt could be made. This could indicate activity at this or an earlier time, but proof that travelers know of the camp.


Upon acquiring statehood in 1818 Illinois received title to the salt pro­ducing lands and continued the five leases signed in 1817. One lease was to Meredith Fisher and Willis Hargrave, another to Jonathan Taylor, another operator was James Ratcliff, another was Timothy Guard whose works were still oper­ating in 1832, and the last was Geo. Robinson who in 1816 purchased for $7,000 all the equipment and lease of Leonard White. (Deed book A of Gallatin County) Robinson had been county sheriff and White had resigned as militia captain in 1812 to accept an appointment as county judge.


The last operators were Joseph Castle and Broughton Temple who, along with Stephen R. Rowan, Andrew McAllen, Chalon Guard and Abner Flanders formed a company in 1854. They spent lots of money on a deep well and other improvements, hoping to make the Half Moon Lick profitable once more. Several years later with Castle and Temple as sole owners, using other efficiencies and coal instead of wood as fuel, production reached 500 bushels in 24 hours. Until 1870 their 4 and 6 mule teams were a common sight on the Shawneetown road as they hauled salt. By 1873 overproduction and the panic with the resultant low prices, the end came to an industry which had furnished much of a new state's revenue, and which had attracted vast numbers of people to this area, some for a short time period before moving on, others as permanent residents.


About 1800 Shawneetown's first white settler, a gunsmith and blacksmith named Michael Sprinkle, arrived. It is said that he served the needs of the white as well as the occasional red man after building his cabin and shop. His talents became more important as activity increased around the Ohio River Landing.















The demand for workers at low but real wages began in 1803 when a Capt. Bell of Lexington, Ky., leased the salines for 3 years. It is said that during the same year, a small ferry operated between the Ill. and Ky., Landings. The trails suitable for packhorses had to be widened for wagons. Road contracts started some into the construction business and toward financial success, while others with less business ability or luck failed. Where the roads crossed low or poorly drained land, bridges or crosslays had to be built. The main market for salt was the South, and the one time Shawnee Indian Town seemed to be the logical port for shipment, so the first road was cut out to Shawneetown.


From the salt spring on the south side of the Saline River and north side of the Wildcat Hills, the road followed in general an Easterly course to the north side of Leavell Hill, which it descended to cross the Saline at Island Ripple Ford. After crossing the flats here, the road branched, one going to the north side of the hill then to the east near Dorman Cemetery and the present Smoky Row Road and was called the Dry Weather Road. The other branch, evidently the most used at first, skirted the south side of Gold Hill for a while before climbing to the top. It passed the site of one of Gallatin County's first churches, the Island Ripple Primitive Baptist, which joined the Muddy River Association in 1821. It seems as though in the pioneer days, in case after case the group that established the neighborhood church was also in the forefront of those working for a school, and often the same building housed both. This site was donated March 1, 1828, by Benjamin and Mary Jolly, as one acre for church, school and cemetery purposes, to the church trustees Joseph Wathen and Thomas Barlow. The deed for the site was often dated years after the building of the church. This so‑called Ridge Road continued east by the Hazle Moreland Sr. farm home and tavern in the south part of Sect. 34 T9R9 then descended south of Gold Hill Cemetery to continue 1‑1/2 miles to Shawneetown. One of the orders of the new Gallatin County Court in May 1813 was to appoint Moreland as overseer of this road from Shawneetown to Island Ripple, and John Robinson Sr. was appointed supervisor from the Ripple to the Salt works. At the same time Moreland was granted a license for a tavern at his home near where the road from North or Dorman Cemetery area to the Kuykendall Valley crossed the East‑West or Ridge Road. Some of these roads were deep-cut or sunken. The house was described as a two-story hewed log house with a fireplace within and the dogwalk between the two lower rooms. It was used as a residence by the Kincheon Jones family in 1917 and by other families for many years later, but it was still called the Old Inn. By this time the house had been altered, and a frame or boxed addition served as a kitchen. The site is now a part of the Joe E. Logsdon farm. Except for fireplace brick and rocks, the old cedar tree, the rock‑walled well, and part of a fitted corner of rotting hewed oak logs and split oak board shingles, little or nothing remained in early January of 1973. Another tavern license was granted Belam May for his place about four miles to the west near Island Ripple, the fee for each being $8. The fee for the third tavern, at the U. S. Saline Salt Works, to Charles Wilkins & Company, was $13. A license for a ferry across the Ohio was granted Alexander Wilson with a tax of $10 yearly. Ferry and tavern rates were set, and the tax on ferries on other rivers ranged from $1 to $5.


From an old folder on Gallatin County roadbuilder bonds, I find 26 road contracts let. Most were dated in 1833 during the heyday of the salt making industry. The following made bonds insuring the fulfilling of their contracts: Samuel G. Evans, Eli Adams and Daniel B. Vaughn on road from Guards Salt Works to Shawneetown; Next came David A. Grable, Eli Adams and Drury Cook from Guard's Works by David A. Grable's to Frankfort, John M. Burnett also signed this bond; John W. Herod and Joseph Hayes on July 27, 1832, took the Equality to Ford's Ferry contract; #5 went to James L. Kendrick, Joseph E. Watkins and












Hazle Moreland for more work on the same road in July, 1835; #6 ‑ Abraham Irvin, Thomas Margrave and Charles Benson on Equality to Mt. Vernon Road; #7 ‑ John Logan and James Barker on road from Shawneetown by Cottonwood Branch to McLeansboro; #8 was taken by Irvin, Margrave and Benson on Equality by John Choisser's to Mt. Vernon; #9 ‑ Joseph McKernon, Geo. Clements and Lawrence McKernon more work on #8; #10 ‑ the McKernons and Hazle Moreland also for more of #8 route; #11 ‑ Hazle Moreland, John Willis and Wm. Taylor on the Moreland contract on Ridge Road from Equality by Weeds Works to Shawneetown; #12 ‑ Hazle Moreland and Abner Dutton, a part of #10, Hiram Walters also signed this bond; #13 ‑ Moreland, Herod and James M. Jones from Equality by the Ridge Road to Shawnee; #14 ‑ Moreland, James B. Thompson and Hugh B. Sher­wood extra work on #11; the contractors on #14 took #15 which was from Equality to Fords Ferry; #16 ‑ H. B. Sherwood, Alexander K. Boutwell and John Willis, the Shawneetown by Cypress Creek to McLeansboro road; #17 ‑ Abner Overfield joined Sherwood and Boutwell on Shawneetown by Little Bottom to McLeansboro; #18 ‑ Frederick Smith, Samuel McClintock and Robert Peeple on Shawneetown to Equality road; #19 and 20 both to Thomas and Hugh B. Sherwood and Abner Over­field also on Shawneetown to Equality Road; #21 went to Hiram and Daniel Vaught and Jeremiah Baldwin on Equality to Mt. Vernon road; others were David Upchurch, Thomas H. Oldham, Joab Moore, Thomas Dotson and Michael Jones. Charles Mick took the contract with Lee Hargrave and Lewis West as signers for improving the navigation on Saline Creek from Kirkpatrick's Bridge to the White and Green Mill. Road building, then as now, along with repairs was almost constant.


Hugh and Hampton Weeds' salt plant was in Sect. 31 T9R9 about ~ mile below Island Ripple. With the nearby timber already used, it had become more economical to pipe the saltwater by gravity to the fuel supply.


The Shawneetown to Vincennes mail route had been started in 1806 going by what a few years later became Boone's Mill or Boone's Fort but permanently named New Haven by one of its first merchants, one of whose account books from 1816 to 1821 is still in existence. This book contains over 400 names and purchases of customers. Jonathan Boone, a brother of Daniel, came to this spot in 1812 along with Samuel Dagley Sr. and family consisting of 15 children. Dagley's sister was the wife of Boone who lived here only a few years. Some say that New Haven is the third oldest town in the state.


A petition to congress dated Nov. 13, 1809 states that there are 30 families settled in the town or near the river bank at the place most con­venient for the landing, loading and unloading the supplies going to and the salt coming from the Great Salines owned by the United States Government. They asked that congress lay out lots of 1 or 2 acres and sell them to the highest bidder before some monopolizer buys or leases the whole tract and exacts exor­bitant rents.


Signers of the petition were John Robinson, John Manson, John Reid, Joseph Lowe, Robert Dixon, Isaac Sibley, George Robinson, William Coen, Adrian Davenport, Robert Cox, John Davenport, Meshake Sexton, Marmaduke S. Davenport, N. D. Ander­son, John Reburn, Michael Sprinkle, J. G. Whelan, Reuben Fox, J. Wilson, Abner Wilks, Fred Delaney, Wm. West, Henry Boyers, John Williams, William Akers, Enoch Brown, Pierre Moulin, Joseph Land, Henry Kenyon, John Forester, Emanuel Ensmin­ger, Samuel Barks, Elihu Howard, John McConnell, John Handlee, John Johnston, Ephraim Hubbard Sr., William Morgan, Elias Hubbard, John Voodry, Augustus Hubbard, Peter Bono, Jacob Zellers, James Logan, Samuel Robb, James Wilson, Samuel Moore, Andrew English and Walker Scanland.














The government set aside an area ten miles wide and 13 miles long centered around the salt works, to furnish firewood for the furnaces. Settle­ment on this land, except by those with connections to salt production, was discouraged. Laws forbade sale of this land, but this did not stop the settlers With some salt producers advocating destruction of all improvements, to prevent new occupants taking over as the old ones moved on, new petitions came out pro­testing the excessive amount of good land withheld.


This petition dated 2-21‑1811, asked that each and every actual settler on the unsold public lands in the Territory be allowed 1/4 section of land in­cluding their improvements at the price the Government may hereafter fix. Signed as sundry inhabitants of the East End of Illinois Territory as follows. Samuel L. Carlisle, William P. Cool, Henry Kenyon, J. Campbell, Charles Linn, Joseph Green, Charles Ewing, James Fraziaur, D. Trimble, E. A. Keeling, James Kelly, Charles Edets, Simon M. Hubbard, Charles Stewart, Abram Stanley, George and Thomas Robinson, Emanuel Ensminger, M. S. Davenport, Walker Scanland, Joshua Sexton, Adrian Davenport, Harris, John and Cronton Wilson, Jeremiah Vinson, Samuel Robb, John Murphy, Osborn Powell, Mikel Cambell, Thorton Tanby or Tally, Deames Linn, James Smith, Reuben Cambell, James and Jacob Willis, William West, John Robinson Jr. and Sr., Gabriel Voodrey, Ephraim Hubbard Sr., Samuel Duvall, Henry Boyers, Henry Green, Jonathan Hampton, John Choisser, Wm. Kinchlow, Isaac Davis, John Reid, John Young, John Davis, Isaac Morgan, Enoch Brown, John Forrester, Alexander Wilson, James Nathan, William Robinson, Charles Druer, James Wiseman, Robert McMullen, John Kersey, John Reyburn, David Uley, John Damewood, Warner and Fred­erick Buck, Jacob Zellers, A. Davenport Jr., Alexander Lomax, Otho Davenport, Samuel McClure, John Craw, Alexander Robinson, Alexander Druer, George Robinson Jr., William Akers, John W. Langford, Isaac McIsaac, Lewis Dewall, William Stanley.


At this time about one third of the population of Illinois Territory lived in this corner. In September 1812, Gallatin County was one of the two new counties, formed from a part of Randolph, with Shawneetown named as the seat of government. White County was formed from a part of Gallatin in 1815, Franklin in 1823 again reduced Gallatin's borders, then Hardin in 1839, and Saline was organized in 1847, leaving Gallatin with her present boundaries.


In December 1812, another petition containing over 140 names went to congress stating that, under the impression that a land office was to be estab­lished for the sale of area lands, they were indued to move to and establish improvements as were necessary to carry on their occupations, and asking that a law be passed giving the actual settler the right to enter the 1/4 section including his improvements at the price set on the other lands. Another request was if the settler be unable to enter the 1/4 section on which he resides, then it should be sold to the highest bidder with the purchaser required to pay the settler the actual value of his improvements. Signers of this petition were as follows. Leonard White, James Ratcliff the postmaster at U. S. Salines, Thomas Shannon, William West, Benjamin Cummins, Thomas, George, John, William, Alexander, and George Robinson Jr., Thompson Harris, John C. Slocum, Isaac Casey, James Ratcliff, Nathaniel Armstrong, William Penney, Hiram Penney, James Heley, William Pankey, John Woods, Ezekiel Clay, Wiley Hutson, William and Richard Stiles, Jacob T. Swofford, Lewis Watkins, John King, Peter Etter, Asa Ledbetter, John Wallace, James Andrew, Edward Haley, James Fisher, William Casey, Rivers Cormack, Arthur McCree, Sparling Younge, Emanuel Madcaft, Elisha Browning, Elias and William Jordan, James Gordan, Aaron Neal, David and Isaac Shelby, William Jordan, Welding Manning, Ernest Chandler, Benjamin Talbott, Benoney Lee, Joseph Estes, Dickson Garrett, Chism Estes, James Ford, William Wood, William Chisholm, David Self, James Lae, Manning Rose, Ben Ri Smith, George Raglin, Thomas Mazes, Thomas Wilson, M. S. Davis, Edmond Rose, John Morris, Henry and William McGehee, Warner and Frederick Buck, John Richey, Nimrod Taylor, Dennis Clay, John Mitchell, John Riche, Haly Bags, William, Zekel and Walter McCoy,








Joseph Carey, Isaac Moss, Entey Richey, Brice Hanna, William Cayton, Jessie Wadke, Edward D. Prather, William Whitford, William Daniel, William Gordon, Joseph Pumroy, Humphrey Leach, William Wheeler, John George, John Damewood, Moses M. Rawlings, John Choisser, Samuel Cermak, Merril and William Willis, James Morris, William Ellis, John Wilson, John Robinson, Matt Thompson, James McFarlan, Carraway Oates, Al Wilson, John H. Cayton, William Mekkele?, William Akers, James Wright, Jacob Legg, Hy. Kenyon, Juvriel Gravlin, Mason Harper, Roger and Dudley Glass, Joseph Fisher, Rufus Inman, James Crawford, David Standlee, John Wallis, William and Elisha Ratlif, David Lowry, A. Blair, Francis Pash, Alen Miller, John Rat­lif, James Fleming, Benjamin Walden, Soloman Redfern and Elmo Chaffin. With the signers of these three petitions expressing an interest in home ownership, and with other petitions to congress asking for the right to elect their own delegate to that law making body and for the establishment of a land office nearby, it seemed that a bright future for Shawneetown was assured.


Many of the lawmakers expected a large city to grow on the Ohio below the mouth of the Wabash River, so Shawanoe Town as it was called in the early days was laid out and surveyed accordingly. These plans had failed to reckon with the damage that often came from the Ohio floods. After two floods in the spring of 1813, lasting 10 weeks with the water 10 to 15 feet deep over the town, there was much pressure to move to a site on the hill on the south side of the mouth of the Saline River. Although 6 miles far­ther from the salt works, the new site had many advantages among which were freedom from floods, a ferry was required at Island Ripple if the water was up, much salt could be floated to a port down the Saline during proper seasons and the roads were over high land, while 4 of the 12 miles to Shawneetown were over low lands often impassable and always difficult for wagons. Forty log houses floated away in 1813 as well as the fences, stables and other improvements leaving the site clean except the heavier buildings and those on stilts several feet above the ground. The town survived these floods, however, as well as countless others before most of the town moved 3 miles to the West after the highest flood of all in 1937. What would have been the result of a move in 1813?



Records show that some gave up on Shawneetown after the 1813 floods, and I remember those that did after the 1913 flood 100 years later. After every flood some salvaged what they could then moved on, while others tried to defy the waters by building stronger buildings or higher levees around the site. Levees often gave the citizens a false sense of security for they sometimes broke under pressure, as they did in 1898 when several lives were lost. At other times the waters rose above them.



The land office, selling lots and farms, came in 1814 with a boost to Shawneetown. Morris Birkbeck described it as a slab-sided building on a dusty street. On the inside, covering the walls were maps of the area showing where farms in the wilderness were for sale by the U. S. Government. Some of the well drained and well located farms sold early at $2 per acre, others less desirable sold later for much less. My great‑great grandfather, Henry Rollman, in 1848 paid $100 for our home farm of 160 acres. The abstract lists it as swamp and waste land though forty per cent of it was ridge or upland. The hewed log home which he and his sons built on a sandstone foundation stood until about 1912 or 1914 within a few feet of the box house in which I was born. This type of low cost house usually replaced the log house. The name came from the outside covering of rough sawmill boards or boxing placed vertically like the other farm buildings. Thinner half-inch boards covered the outside cracks













which came as the green lumber dried and contracted and also formed the inside walls, which were often covered with heavy red paper to keep the cold winds out. This paper caught fire and the house burned after mother tried hurrying her freshly kindled fire in the cook stove. The old log house, in need of repairs and daubing, had been torn down a short time before. It had lost its appeal as a wash and storehouse after a snake had been seen inside. As the next best, Dad selected and repaired the old 14‑16 foot granary, with the metal roofing from the burned house. In this we lived very cozy for the few winter months be­fore our new weatherboard covered house with the plastered rooms was finished, though there was only one small window in the granary. Dad and his brother, Andrew, partners in farming, had a haybaler and were supplementing their income two miles away, so the house was about gone on their return. A nearby uncle, George Blackburn, and neighbors saved most of the furnishings. Items were lost which could never be replaced, but some of the neighbors were generous. I especially remember their home canned fruit and vegetables. I mention these things because much of it was typical of a period in our history when there was little money or crime, but much hard work in our area. There were visits and fellowship, especially after church on Sunday. Divorce was almost unheard of. This gave support to the old adage: those who work together stay together. Most farmers had either a wood lot or access to a deadening or clearing where poles or logs for firewood were abundant. The logs or poles were dragged to the farm­yard and piled up for use as needed. Although we hauled and used four to six wagonloads of coal, it seemed as if we used a lot of wood, especially after we boys became able to use a crosscut saw.


Perhaps a third of the houses then were of the box type or a combination, usually a two-room addition to the original log house; also a few log houses were in use. The outside walls of the boxed houses were usually weather-beaten, but occasionally they were whitewashed, the inside walls sealed with wood or papered. I have seen rooms covered with old newspapers. Few of these houses are left today.


Two of the old log houses are yet standing in Omaha Township, but neither is used as a residence. Both are covered with weatherboard. The Rev. Robert M. Davis (1824‑1908) home, built about 1845 in what became the village of Omaha 25 years later, is owned by his grandson, Jack Blackard local historian, who lives on the adjoining lot. Rev. Davis, a C.P. minister after 1844, built a frame addition to the house many years later. The other was built about 1828 by John Kinsall (1790‑1853) and is in excellent condition. The barn across the old or one time road has a center of hewed logs about 22 Feet Square and of the same height. The upper part was floored for hay and the lower part used for storage and corn. This barn has stalls on two sides and a shed on the third and is very similar to the one on our farm, which was replaced in 1916. It is also in good shape, and the farm is still owned by great‑grandchildren. This farm in Sec. 26 joins Omaha on the East.


Another old house in the South part of the county was recently taken down. It had 1834 AD carved in the fireplace stone. It was located in Section 2, T10R8, on land entered by Jacob and Mary Six in 1832 and sold to Edward Leavell early in 1835. I visited this home often 30 years ago. The original home had two rooms up and two down and yellow gum hand hewed timbers up to 34 feet in length, some of which now show up very well in a family room addition to my son's home in Wisconsin.


I found another large log home, when compared to those in Omaha Twp., while searching the North part of Sections 31 and 32, T10R9 for the Kendrick Cemetery in the early 1960s. It was a short distance from the cemetery and alongside a deep cut, busy road of an earlier day, on land entered in 1853 by Columbus Kendrick.













It was on the north end of a large flat hill perhaps l3' miles from the nearest residence. The barn and another building, both of hewed log construction as well as the house, were in fair condition and solid except for leaking roofs. The workmanship on the house impressed me very much. Two parts of the house consisting of two rooms upper and lower were 6 or 8 feet apart. A very large rock chimney filled this space and took care of a fireplace in both lower rooms in contrast to the usual practice of a chimney on both ends of large houses. No division appeared on the West side or front of the house where the logs were more than 40 feet long, extending the full length of the rooms plus the enclosed hallway connecting the two sections. These logs, both long and short, were from 18 to 24 inches wide and varied little from end to end. The hewed sides, except for a few axe marks, looked as if they had been sawed and then sanded. The stairways and upper and lower floors were from sawed boards, which were also used to weather-seal the upstairs, and for window frame and doors. Straight 4 or 5 inch poles with 2 sides smoothed served as rafters. Split board shingles of white oak or cypress sufficed for a roof. Crushed or burned mussel shells mixed with sand were sometimes used to cement fireplace and chimney rocks to­gether. I marveled at the skill required to go into the virgin forest with saws, axe, adze and broadaxe for shaping, some windows and a few nails and com­plete a cozy home with little money but much hard work. I had forgotten my camera, never expecting to need it, but planned to go teach soon for some unusual pictures. A friend and I finally took this long hill hike in January 1971, and found the chimney down and part of the timbers hauled away. The walls of the other buildings were standing along with part of the house walls, but the yards were fast going back to nature with a thick growth of trees up to 20 feet tall. I have some good pictures of the ruins, a good memory of the old house and a deep admiration for those who with so little could erect houses of wood to last so long.


Shawneetown was surveyed and laid out because of acts of congress in 1810 and 1814 and is one of the few towns with this distinction. It was platted by federal government surveyors because of its favorable location as a salt ship­ping center, as a mail distribution center and as a supply receiving station. Houses and businesses dotted the site long before the U. s. Land office sold the first lot in 1814. Some reports say that by 1810 there were produce markets, distilleries, tanneries, a gristmill, saddle and shoemakers, coopers and black­smiths and soon after a spinning wheel factory and cotton gin located there. After the opening of the land office in 1814, many new home seekers came and business boomed. A traveler in 1016 writes that Shawneetown had 200 or 300 people. Gallatin was the most populous county in the state in 1815 when Shawnee­town had an estimated population of 3200, someone writes. The Southeast part of the state had about one third of the states population when Illinois gained statehood in 1818, but the 3200 figure must have been for the county instead of the town.


There were 554 families listed in Gallatin County by the state census re­turned Dec. 1, 1820, and 451 listed in the federal census returned two months later. The state census lists 103 more families, but the discrepancy is even greater, since 224 families listed in the state census do not appear in the federal, which has 119 families not listed in the state census. These discrepan­cies were caused by a population on the move. Many families settled permanently, but most stayed for a while in camp or visited friends or relatives until the available land could be scouted, a selection made and purchased along with any supplies needed. Then one of the roads from Shawnee to the interior was taken for the last leg of the trip. Jobs were usually plentiful at the salt works.















These enabled some to complete their trips to or through the Illinois Country as the interior was called. The roads or traces as they were called, to the salt wells and mentioned earlier led to new homes in the wilderness. The Goshen Trail leading to the Goshen Settlement near Edwardsville is the most noted now, but parts of many old winding roads are used today.


Shawneetown was the port of entry for most of the immigrants for the fol­lowing reasons. It was the first landing below the Wabash. It was very diffi­cult to move upstream in the boats that carried all the settlers' belongings, often including livestock and wagons, so this ruled out going up the Mississippi and forced an overland trip. A better choice of roads due to salt wells probably influenced some, but the location of the land sales office was very important. Many from the South crossed the Ohio River on the Shawnee ferry. My great‑great grandfather, John Miner 1788‑1863, followed this route with his family and others from Anderson County, South Carolina about 1833. They took the road from Shaw­neetown to McLeansboro, which was mentioned earlier when Hugh B. Sherwood in 1833 took a contract to repair it. From Shawnee this road went by what was then called Street's Burying Ground and to the Northwest over the hills skirting the South side of Cypress Swamp and going West for about 2 miles to the best cross­ing and then Northwest again by the Old Bradley Cemetery and community. To this point most of this road has been graveled and is still in use. Continuing NW it went through the SW 1/4 of Section 5, T9R9, owned by Washington Sherwood, which was proposed as a site for a new county seat for what was left of Gallatin after the new county of Saline was formed in 1847. Shawneetown held the seat from 1812 to 1827 when it went to Equality due to its central location and road connections with the rapidly growing parts of the county that later became Har­din and Saline. This road, after intersecting the New Haven to the Salt Spring road at or near the Sherwood farm, continued through what later became Ridgway to Crawford in the N. Central part of Sect. 25 T8R8, and then to Buffalo near the center of Section 3, T8R8. At Buffalo one branch of the road went toward what later became Omaha while the other crossed Cane Creek at Buffalo Crossing or Ford, and later at Mud Bridge near the township line and turning NW it fol­lowed the better drained route about midway between North Fork and Bear Creeks. In the North Central part of Sec. 29 T7R8 it went by the David Keasler log home which became the South Hampton post office about 1850 and was torn down a few years ago. The road entered White County near the Southwest corner where the four counties meet, and then into Hamilton County where the Miners settled East of Rectorville and west of Old Gossett, perhaps two miles off the old road and among the Davis, Wilson, and Young and Keasler families. These families were all from South Carolina and most were members of the Old Douglas Memorial Presbyter­ian Church located less than a mile over the county line in Saline County. Sarah Miner dies in 1845 and John in 1863 and are buried there. There is evi­dence but not proof that the Davis and Miner families were related by marriage before moving to Illinois. The Miner's eldest son, Elijah born in 1812, married Elizabeth, the daughter of Dr. James (died 1849) and Isabel Young (1793‑1876).


The early settlers usually sought the type of land, which they had left and traveled in groups linked together by friendship, relationship or church member­ship. John and Sarah's two eldest sons wrote their name as Minor while the two youngest, Lewis and Daniel, wrote theirs as Miner. Ira Shain of nearby Norris City, who was born in 1869 and died in 1970, had a wealth of local and family history. He typed until his hundredth year and donated much of his work to the library. Stories of his busy life were carried by many newspapers. I enjoyed several visits and two drives with him. In 1969 during a visit he asked if I














would collect a few facts on the younger members of our Miner family since he was afraid he would not have time to complete his story otherwise. A few months after I gave him the information, which I enjoyed collecting, he died suddenly. His grandfather, Coleman Minor (1816‑85), lived in the extreme NW part of Galla­tin County along the old road, which he had first traveled so long before while migrating from South Carolina, near the Shain family. Mr. Shain remembered many stories of the early days and of the hardships during the long journey to the North, most of which was on foot for the able bodied with parched corn as food when nothing else was available. Their wagon loaded with necessities and posses­sions had room only for the weak.


In getting back to the time of the War of 1812, there were two militia com­panies organized in this area as protection against threatened Indian attacks. They were commanded by Captains Willis Hargrave and Thomas E. Craig and each consisted of about 70 men. The fact that so many of their names are unfamiliar is further proof that many young men considered Gallatin County an observation post as well as the gateway to the interior.


The first bank in Illinois was started in 1816 by John Marshall of Shawnee­town. It was located in his home, the first brick building in the town. Our county has preserved many of its early records among, which are many records of loans as well as efforts on collections by those working for this bank during the early 1820s. It was built facing the river and Shawneetown's Front or River Street on, which was built the first levee in the 1860s. The levee has been raised after even higher floods rose above it until it is above the top floor of the old bank. Gallatin County has an active Historical Society, which is col­lecting funds for the restoration of this old building, which is badly in need of repair. It is said to have closed about 1824, reopened in 1835 and closed for good soon after, a victim of bad loans and a depression. The massive four story stone bank building with the five corrugated Doric columns on Main and Main Cross streets was built in 1839‑41 at a cost of $80,000. These banks had their ups and downs, as did Shawneetown. The new bank building sold for a small fraction of its cost more than once. A loan of $80,000 was made to the state in the 1830s for the completion of the new statehouse at Springfield. Another $38,000 loan went toward paving the Shawneetown wharf with rock in 1837, little of which was col­lected. The History of Gallatin County by Goodspeed in 1886 lists many of the difficulties, which beset the early banks.


Shawneetown for many years continued to grow in size and importance because of its location on the Ohio River, and the absence of railroads in the interior. Even though the settlers pushed 50 or 60 miles inland, they still depended on the river to bring them steel and iron products from the developing mills in Western Pennsylvania, as well as countless other items from factory towns upriver. When so many of the early settlers came down the river in flatboats, they sold at Shawneetown for as low as $6 each, their only value being the sawed boards which could be used for other buildings. Now they were in demand for moving farm products to downriver markets. Hogs, cattle and even turkeys came on foot to the Shawneetown markets, I have read of and been told by old men of the pork-packing plants located there. Many fortunes were made there, proof of which in some cases may be seen in Westwood and in others by the fine old homes they built, a few of which are still standing in Old Shawneetown. General LaFayette visited the town in 1825 and was entertained at the Rawlings house, the second brick house in the town. The re‑enactment of this important event at the same hotel in 1925 attracted many visitors.


Equality came into being at an early date because of its elevation and near­ness to the salt works. Many men notable in the legal and business life of the












new county lived here. The Saline River was bridged at Equality at a very early date by a toll bridge; one account stated that the old covered bridge had stood for more than 70 years when it was torn down in 1892 or 93. Many steel-framed ones were built about this time including the Island Ripple Bridge. The county bought the covered toll bridge in 1866 for $800 and made it free. It was de­scribed as the Hick Bridge at this time and was perhaps earlier known as the Kirkpatrick and built primarily for salt works use. A covered bridge over North Fork was built east of Equality much later. Castle and Temple, who gave up on the salt business 100 years ago, concentrated on coal mining and coke manufactur­ing. With their many coke ovens they achieved a success noted by a St. Louis newspaper article in mid 1890s. Closed long ago, these businesses are now re­membered by very few.


Many of the leading men of Equality along with two of the three Gallatin County commissioners approved the aforementioned Sherwood Farm as a new central­ly located county seat site. On the first Saturday of September 1847, the voters also approved this site by a large majority. The voters won this battle but not the war. After much delay and another commissioner's election, the county jail was built on lot 816 in Shawneetown in the early 1850s. The court records were moved to a rented building until the completion of a new courthouse, which was started in 1859 on lot 815. Many years later after Ridgway became competitive with Shawnee, two‑or three elections were held at ten-year intervals to decide which of these towns should have the county seat. These elections were very heated with much money made up and spent by both sides. Though Shawneetown won each time, the vote was close enough to encourage Ridgway to try again at the end of the legal waiting period. The jail, including the jailer or sheriff's home, was of logs covered with brick on a hewed rock foundation three feet high. The courthouse was a three-story brick structure. Together they cost about $20,000 and had defied many floods including that of 1937, which rose 6 feet above the levee, which had cost several hundred thousand dollars over its lifetime. These old buildings were razed about 1942 upon the completion of their successors in the new town. Along with a wish that both had been preserved for their his­torical value, go thanks for those in charge of preserving our county records. Some have been water damaged and a few lost, but most are intact and in very good condition in spite of many moves and floods.


Though plans for a village and county seat in Sect. 5 T9R9 failed, the need for a trading center in the area persisted. Settlers came in increasing numbers as they realized the capabilities of the fertile and level North Central part of Gallatin County. On December 1, 1854, Washington Sherwood and James Dillard Jr. platted 124 lots of which they sold 93 in what they called New Market. It was located about one and one‑half miles N.E. of the first selection, in Sect. 29 and 32 of T8R9, centering on what is yet called the New Market crossroad. The North‑South Road split the above townships, continuing south to connect with the Shawneetown‑McLeansboro Road at Bradley, part of which it soon replaced. New Market soon had a post office on the same route with those at Crawford and Buffalo. Within five years there were three stores in New Market ‑ one owned by Fred Saulers, another by the Moye brothers, John D. and Wm., and the third by Davis Philower and Joseph Smith. Descendants of the latter gave me for my collection four record and account books, which they were about to discard. Their customers came from as far as 5 or 6 miles. Their purchases were much like those at New Haven 40 years earlier at the Paddy Robinson and Roswell Grant Store. Both sold powder, lead, caps, sugar, salt, spices, kitchen ware, yard goods, shoes, hats, rope, jack knives, ribbon, combs, needles, thimbles, buttons and tobacco. The New Haven store sold iron to be fabricated and lots of meal and














bought deerskin. The New Market store also sold the following: matches, vin­egar, soda, molasses, grain cradles, mowing scythes and also several kinds of pills and home-remedies. At this time, too, pantaloons were called pants. They bought grain, butter, eggs and hoop‑poles and also sold hand tools and stoneware Jugs, jars and churns and both sold tea and coffee and many other items. Daniel Miner often hauled grain from this store to Shawneetown while his father‑in‑law, Henry Rollman, hauled hoop‑poles. Both brought back a load of merchandise, and each received a credit of S1 upon their return from the round trip of 22 miles. This was in 1858, the store continued until 1861. There were three blacksmiths in New Market during this period, John Hancock, Joel and Nathan Lamb. The latter also made coffins and did woodwork and later moved to Ridgway. Isaac Smith op­erated a hotel in the large two-story log house, which stood until the 1930s. His brother‑in‑law, Elijah Foster, was a doctor there along with Dr. George C. Smith. Abram Zuck operated a gristmill and Joseph Smith had a brick kiln. There was also a tannery located there. The old hotel was on the east side of S. Main Street, and 17 of the 18 lots in this area south of the public square were sold. The 1860 census listed over 100 inhabitants.


Crawford was located about two miles NW of New Market and had a post office, school and Nathaniel Holderby's general store, which opened by 1854 or earlier. His account book listed 260 names, most of who lived west or north of Crawford. Gallatin County's first Cumberland Presbyterian Church, believed to have been started north of New Shawneetown, was formed by early settlers including Joseph M. Street, our first county clerk who entered Sect. 24 T9R9 in 1815, and James Dil­lard Sr. (177?‑1848) and wife, Rachel Boutwell, who purchased the SW 1/4 of Sec. 14 in 1814. Street, like many who were prominent in Shawneetown's early days, lived on the flood free ridge surrounding the town. It is said that his wife's father, Gen. Posey, died while visiting them and was buried in their garden, and was the first burial in what became Westwood. The Street and Dillard farms were 1/2 mile apart and both lived on the McLeansboro road. A family tradition says the Dillard family lived in three states without moving from their log home, be­lieved to have been in East Tennessee. Dillard and his wife's father, Stephen Boutwell, came here from Christian County, Kentucky, after 1810. In 1819 Dil­lard moved again after entering the E 1/2 of the SW 1/4 of Sec. 29 T8R9, and Goodspeed's History of 1886 tells of the church's next move to the Dillard com­munity. In 1830 it moved again, this time to Crawford, where it became The New Pleasant C. P. Church with Jas. Dillard, Sr., John V. Sherwood, Isaih W. Pettigrew, John Murphy Sr., John Alexander, James Fleming and Isaac N. Hannah as ruling elders.


At this time of the known ministers of this faith in Gallatin County, B. F. Spilman served at Shawnee from 1823 to 1845. The other two, Benjamin F. Bruce and John Crawford, lived near the new church. Several Presbyterian families includ­ing the Hannah, Crawford, Glass and Hemphills moved to this area from Pope Co. A small church was erected on the NW side of the ten-acre Crawford Cemetery, which was donated to the trustees by Rev. John Crawford (1804‑78), but this place was most noted for the camp meetings, which were held there. There was a good spring about 100 feet North of the church, another at the foot of the next hill near Crawford Creek 1/4 mile away. Some of those coming from a distance brought their food supply, which sometimes included live chickens and the family cow to furnish milk. At first, brush arbors with a roof of brush or straw furnished shade and some shelter. Later sheds were built. In the Southern Illinoisan, a weekly pub­lished by William Edwards and son in Shawnee 9‑1‑1854, appeared an article telling of a political meeting in the camp sheds of North Fork Precinct. Some of the














political leaders attending were Col. John E. Hall, Benjamin Bruce, Joel Cook of Equality, Wm. L. Caldwell, Thomas S. Hick, W. L. Blackard, Thomas Lawler, M. K. Lawler, William Coop, Frederick Sellers, Harrell McMurtry, Daniel Wood, Jarvis Pierce, Maj. Aaron R. Stout, James Davenport, John Callicott, James Trousdale, Samuel Proc­tor, Robert M. Davis, Joseph D. Cadle, William C. Christian, David B. Rodgers, Amos Seabolt, Charles Vinson, Samuel Dagley and Felix G. Robertson. Of those attending only these were named. The Ridgway News in 1897 mentioned a C. P. Church rally held at Donaldson's Grove with an attendance of one thousand, at which some of the old timers said it reminded them of the Crawford Campground meetings which they had attended many years before. This grove was between Crawford and Ridgway, at the rear of the present Scherrer Implement Co. grounds. It served as a shaded warm weather gathering place for church and veteran groups after the virgin tim­ber at Crawford was cleared.


Drone's Grove, 15 acres of virgin timber, which joined Ridgway on the North, became popular as the G.A.R. reunion grounds about 1900. After the ranks of the veterans thinned, it was continued as a homecoming celebration with baseball games, rides and other concessions and attractions each summer until the mid 1920s. By 1940 these huge trees, some more than 3 feet in diameter, had been cut for lum­ber. The new Ridgway Community Park is now located on the old reunion grounds. The playground equipment, picnic tables and shelter houses see much use. The county 4‑H Fair is held here each year and an occasional travel trailer or motor home stops overnight. New trees, seeded by a few hollow or cull trees, are now 12 to 18 inches in diameter and growing fast since being thinned.


In getting back to Crawford, those who had worked for a church were soon working toward a school. An election of trustees was held on Nov. 24, 1837, for North Fork Precinct or township 8, range 8, with Moses Fowler, Rev. John Craw­ford, Rev. Benjamin Bruce, Turner Cook and Allen Wallis being elected. The school trustees met at the home of Fowler on Dec. 9, 1837, and elected Crawford as president and Bruce as secretary‑treasurer. In 1838 Fowler was elected pres­ident and they divided the township into four districts, which generally had nat­ural boundaries. They also voted to pay Joseph Hayes, the county school commis­sioner, the amount due, $33.06, and authorized Bruce to purchase the record book. This book contained the school records for a period of about 30 years. It was found in the wreckage of an old home that was being razed and contained many in­teresting records, much of which I copied after it was loaned to me. It is much too lengthy to relate here except for a few items. Isaac N. Hannah and Bruce were listed as teachers in 1841, and for several years the name of each house­hold head was listed along with the number of prospective students under age 20 in the home.


The Southeast District, near Crawford, follows with children O to 20 follow­ing head of household. The three school directors are also noted.


For the 1843‑44 school term as follows


Benjamin Bruce     9      James Glass        7       James Dickey, Dir.       6

John Crawford      3      William Davis      4       Mary Patillo             4

Isaac N. Hannah    9      James Hailes       5       Eleanor Elder            3

Elijah Perkins     1      Alexander Dillard  2       Thomas A. Johnson        3

Aulston Dillard    7      William Pratt      4       Lucinda Barton           4

James Kirk         7      Isaac Kirk         2       Calvin Kimbro            3

Samuel L. Reynolds  3      Samuel Proctor     1       Jonathan Combs           5

Robert M. Trousdale 2      James M. Elder     1       Samuel Simmons, Dir.     8

Isaih Vinyard       5      James W. Trousdale 2       John Elder, Dir.         0












Northeast District #2 1843‑44 term


James H. Lewis    2       Samuel H. Lewis      2     Bartlett Garrett       3

John Hana         5       Sarah Fowler         3     D. W. Dugger, Dir.     2

Moses Fowler      1       Western M. Fowler    4     Thomas Green           3

John Fowler        1       William Mathis, Dir. 4     David B. Johnson, Dir. 3

Wm. A. Dickey      1       William Crawford     6     Mary Alexander         1

Wm. Fowler         5


The Northwest District #3 of North Fork Precinct, N. of White Oak and West of North Fork Creek. 1843‑44 School term


Turner Cook, Dir.   2      Walter Karnes      3       John Smith               3

Alfred Karnes, Dir. 1      Asa Pistole        4       James Henson             2

William Gregg       1      Samuel Hudgeons    2       Samuel Elder, Dir.       4

John Karnes         5      William Harget     5       William Tate             6

Riley W. Bain       1      George McClain     3       Jesse B. Bain            4


The Southwest District or #4 was South of White Oak Creek and West of North Fork Creek in North Fork Precinct. 1843‑44 school term


Nicholas Percel, Dir. 8    Jacob Like             3   Edward Byrnes            2

Peter Spears          1    Peter Gaston           2   Elizabeth Cloud          6

Joseph Spears         4    Doctor Blalock         3   Lewis Sanders            1

Sinah Blakmore        2    James Ransbottom, Dir. 4   Nancy Bozarth            5

William Byrnes, Dir.  4    Moses Willis           3   Thomas Mundin            2


Rev. Josiah Jackson (1808‑82) was to New Market Precinct and the M. E. Church, what John Crawford was to North Fork and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He came to this area from Tennessee during or before 1830. The first Jackson or Hope­well M. E. Church was located about 1/2 mile Southeast of the present Jackson ce­metery on the road which extended east from present day Ridgway's North Street to the New Haven Road and west to Crawford. The time is established by the obit­uary of Emeline Vickery (1818‑1901) which stated she became a charter member of Old Hopewell Church in 1841 and remained a member in good standing at the Jackson or New Hopewell Church. This old log building housed both the Jackson Church and subscription school, with Rev. Jackson heading both, and was located near the boundary between the farms of Thomas Philips and Jacob Hise (1766‑1869), both entered in 1833. On July 8, 1852, James Dillard Jr. and wife, Elizabeth, for the sum of 25¢, deeded one acre in the NW corner of the NE 1/4 of SW 1/4 of Section 29, T8R9 to the public as a school site. This was located on the New Haven‑Salt Springs road less than 1/4 mile south of the old school. This building served as a school for the Southwest District #3 until 1866 when a new building was built on Lots 1 and 2 of block 12 in New Market. It also housed a church, denomination unknown, for a part of this period and stood for about 60 years in the shade of the large walnut and oak trees, which were cut only a few years ago. It served as a farm storage building for most of its life and was of frame construction.


In 1841 or 42 George W. Hise (1796‑1860) and his wife, Rhoda Rollman Hise, pur­chased the Jacob Hise farm, and soon after entered the adjoining NE 1/4 of the SW 1/4 of Section 29 which in turn joined the Josiah Jackson farm. They were also active in the early Methodist Church and in the early schools. George W. Hise served as county school commissioner from 1847 to 1851 and Jackson served from 1851 to 1862.














This was the highest school office in the county. In 1851 Josiah Jackson entered the 40 acres on which the Jackson cemetery is now located. They soon had another church‑school combination in operation here. The children of James M. Bean (1832­1909) attended this school. I have a letter from descendants, which tells of the transition from school to church while Rev. Jackson conducted a funeral, after which came more schooling. Rev. Jackson's home was on the ridge Northeast of the ­church and cemetery, and here the teacher was boarding in 1860. On December 4, 1858, he deeded this tract of over an acre in the NW corner of Sect. 29 to church trustees Abram Zuck, Bricem Cox and Jacob Boutwell. Jackson, like Rev. John Craw­ford, who donated the 10-acre Crawford Campground church and cemetery site, was active in the formation of other churches of his faith.


In 1867 Rev. Jackson was appointed to head a committee of nine trustees, which planned to build a Methodist Church at New Market. The trustees included his bro­ther, Benjamin, his son Wm. S., Daniel M. Miller, Francis A. Donelson, Peter and Samuel Smith, Abraham Zuck and Joseph W. Johnson. They purchased from Ellison and Sarah Ann Coleman Lot 17 of Block 12 for $15 and erected a frame building, which stood until about 1910. This church was very active prior to the opening of the Ridgway Church in 1894 after which attendance dwindled, and it closed soon after. In 1868 Rev. Josiah E. Jackson, Peter Smith and Joseph W. Johnson along with A. B. Gilpin, W. H. Moore, Chas. Vinson and Rev. Jesse Johnson were on the committee building the New Haven M. E. Church. On November 4, 1874, Jackson's name appears again as a trustee of Asbury M.E. Church along with those of J. J. Glasscock, G. B. Baker, B. A. Cook and Thompson Boyd when they purchased one acre from George T. and wife Anne Downen. During these early days, Methodism was already old in Gallatin County. On November 12, 1972, the Equality M. E. Church celebrated its one hundred and sixtieth anniversary. It was organized in 1812, as a part of the Massac Circuit in the Wabash District of the Tennessee Conference. Peter Cart­wright was the presiding Elder and Rev. David Goodner was the preacher in charge. This was the first church of record in the county. Following Rev. Goodner came Reverends Josiah Patterson in 1813, John C. Harberson in 1814, Daniel McHenry in 1815 and 1817, John Harris in 1816, Charles Slocum in 1818 and Thomas Davis 1819 and 1820.


With the return of the soldiers came a demand for railroads, and Gallatin was one of the many counties, which passed a bond issue to help defray the expense of a company, which would provide train service. Thomas S. Ridgway (1826‑97) was a respected citizen of Shawneetown. From his biography in Goodspeed's History we find that he began working in John S. McCracken's printing office in 1838, from 1839 to 1843 he worked in Col. E. H. Gatewood's dry goods store. In 1845 he became the junior member of the firm of O. Pool & Co., and in 1850 Mr. Pool retired, and he and John McKee Peeples continued the business as Peeples & Ridg­way. They became the leading house in Southern Illinois with sales of $200,000 to $300,000 per year. Their customers included farmers and others living 50 to 75 miles away. They sometimes purchased one half million dollars worth of tobacco in a year, as well as grain, pork and other products. Most of these they shipped to New Orleans, New York or Europe. In 1865 they closed out their merchandising business and organized the First National Bank in the four-story bank building built in 1839 and which is standing today. This building was owned by Mr. Ridg­way who made his home in a part of it.


In December 1867 he was made president of the Springfield and Illinois Southeastern Railroad Company, and under his leadership the 226 miles of rail was laid from Shawneetown to Beardstown by 1872. The present L & N Railroad line














through Equality was laid about the same time. The right of way was usually do­nated, but often it had to be cleared, leveled, drained or bridged. An old news­paper account tells of one of these roads hiring 300 drivers and teams, most of which I am sure pulled the steel ditch or road scrapers, commonly used for earth moving. The competition between the community centers of Crawford and New Market for the railroad was intense. Both had influential men who tried to influence Thomas Ridgway in favor of their own area. I have heard the names of many of his friends and former customers who were surprised when the surveyors marked out a route almost equidistant between the two places. It crossed the dividing line between the townships in the north part of what became the village of Ridg­way, named in honor of the builder who was elected the next treasurer of Illinois in 1874.


At this time only a few houses with various amounts of cleared land around each were within what became Ridgway. Henry (1808‑1852) and his wife, Margaret Hise Bean (1807‑80), lived in a large log house south of the high school athletic field. Their son, James M., lived in a three-room cabin 1/2 mile to the north. The first was occupied as a home by the Levi Perkins family until after 1900 and for farm storage until about 1925. The latter was replaced by an eight-room frame home in 1872. Another hewed log house was on the Lamb farm, across the street south of Block 9 or Peeples Addition. Some of the Simmons family also lived nearby, and the Thomas Calvin Kimbro family lived on what became the inter­section of South and Railroad Streets, after he and John C. Jarrell hired Nelson A. Gurney to plat the 17 block Original Survey of the Village of Ridgway in Nov. 1870. In April 1871 this was recorded and 80 lots were sold to Thos. Ridgway and Charles Carroll, a Shawneetown merchant, for $800. These they sold at a profit as the opportunity arose. In March of 1871 they purchased 24 platted blocks in Bartley for which they paid $500, hoping to start another town three miles south of Ridgway. They were more fortunate six miles to the north, where on the farm of Rev. Robert M. Davis, Omaha was started as a trade center.


In 1866 James Hammersley was operating a sawmill at the foot of Division Street on what is now located the Continental Grain Company. The next year his wife, Albina, started the first store on what was later Lot 1 Block 1 of the Village of Ridgway. Her father, Miro Harrington (1815‑83), of Gallipolis, Ohio, was a trader who operated boats on the Ohio River before buying several hundred acres of land near Old Cottonwood about 1860. Her brother, Henry (1850‑1941), operated a store near the old family home in Sect. 3 T8R9 in the late 1870s. His bookkeeping and penmanship was superb in the store account book, which also in­cluded his farm records, sales from his sawmill, expenses incurred and cash ad­vanced to customers or employees. Cash advances often included a notation such as 50¢ for one night at hotel at Hawthorn or for stage from New Haven, which had no railroad. Under the names of his 80 neighborhood accounts often appeared notes such as 2 bonnet boards by Lucy 05¢, 1 McGuffeys 4th reader 70¢, or a pair of shoes for John or Jane $1.25. My own experience proved the value of memory stim­ulants during some collection efforts. There were also charges for blacksmith work. The adjoining Reeder family probably continued this branch of the business, for I have seen the Reeder Blacksmith Shop account book. The last entries in the Henry Harrington account book were in April 1882. He and his wife farmed for several more years then moved to Ridgway where he was active in its development.


The Hammersley one and one half story home was located on Division Street about where the post office now stands. Their store, facing the same street, was on the New Market to Crawford road. This road became Main Street with the northeast corner of this building serving as the starting point for measurements














in the new town of Ridgway. In 1930 my cousin, Dale, and I with $200 each, rented the new DX service station on Lot 1 block 2 and started in business. Four years later we acquired the corner one block to the north which included a garage and other buildings as well as the old store which had acquired another story before 1890 and a new front a few years later. Our plans included a roof over the drive­ways and gasoline pumps, so the old 20 by 40-foot building had to go except for the southwest corner walls. When the alterations were completed, the wall on the south side of the driveway provided room for a 12-foot bench near the sidewalk. In season this bench was usually occupied by the older men who came to the post office across the street or one of the nearby stores on most weekdays. Mr. Barnum, publisher of the weekly Ridgway News, ran a story on the old store at this time. He listed its many occupants beginning with Albina Hammersley who sold to Wm. A. Dickey in 1871. This caused more than the usual amount of reminiscing and discussion among those who spent so many idle hours inside the station or out­side on the bench. Several remembered the beginning of the store and the start of the railroad. We sold our auto supply business in 1965 and the corner a few months later. In 1966 all the buildings were razed, 100 years after the first was started.


My maternal grandparents, Joshua T. (1856‑1946) and Narcissus Chappell Glass (1857‑1946) came to Illinois at the end of the war. He came from near Lynnville, Tennessee with his mother, Nancy Coggin Glass, and she from Henry County, Missouri, with her parents, S. L. and Celeste Arbuckle Chappell. Nancy lived with her sister, Winnie P, and husband John Wesley Chappell, on the farm adjoining his brother, S. L., less than 1/2 mile south of New Market. The brothers, natives of Marshall County, Tennessee, attended the New Pleasant C. P. church at Crawford Campground. My grandparents have told me that Ridgway's Main Street of today was cleared through the big trees only wide enough for wagons to pass, and only as far as East Street where the road branched. It was 30 years later or in 1896 that the Ridgway News told of Main Street being opened to Jackson Road. Both went to school at New Market in the old building, built in 1866 and replaced in 1893 by the present building, used last about 1940. I remember her telling about the split log seats at the school, trips to the neighbors for live coals if they let the fire go out, her love for square dances and how she used white cloth signals to announce dances to her friends living off the road, her appreciation of her horse and side saddle and her distaste for those who seemed to enjoy starting fights.


My grandfather had an inquisitive mind and a good memory. He told me that a union army passing through Giles County took everything edible he and his mother had. They shucked their field of corn, took two hives of bees and honey, caught their chickens and took his horse leaving one that could go no farther. He thought they would have the one chicken left which got under the house, but a soldier came inside, pried up a floorboard near the fireplace and took it, too. He did, however, after the abandoned horse got over its lameness, have a much better horse than they lost. He was one of the group of boys which followed Wm. Davis who shouldered a 100 pound keg of nails and walked to his home, almost a mile west of Hammersley's store, without stopping, For this feat of strength and endurance Davis won a $5 wager made as the result of some teasing and a boast during the stocking of the store in 1867. He described Mr. Davis as old and gray but of stocky build. Davis was 59 at the time, and was the Crawford justice of the peace.


James Grubbs (1865‑1951) has told me that when he was a young man my Great-grandmother Chappell often drove a hack while selling, and took eggs or chickens if her customers were short of cash. He said she aided many Union veterans or













their widows in filling out applications and service claims. She drew a widow's pension of $9 to S12 monthly. I remember my grandfather running a small store at four locations, the last near Eldorado. There were many small buildings hous­ing one‑man operations selling canned goods, bologna, cheese, bread and tobacco and other easily stocked items. Grandmother and he both sold Raleigh and Larkin home products, he in his Ridgway store and she from her peddler's basket. When long hair was womans crowning glory, many saved their combings, which they brought to her for fashioning into hair switches. I lived in town with them during part of my first year in school and have seen her sew and comb this long hair for hours, but when in need of quick cash, she know who would be out of this or that. She sold from her basket, and took orders for future delivery but usually came home with the necessary money. He also drove a huckster wagon. An ad in one of my old newspapers dated about 1902 says "J. T. Glass brings his store to your door". Where sales are easy, collections are often hard. This fact has shortened the life of many businesses, and maybe his, though he never mentioned this. I never remembered him owning a team, but several times on Saturday my father furnished a team and surrey, which I drove to town in the early morn. He loaded a supply of T. M. Sayman soap, Raleigh extracts, liniment, salves and other items for man or beast. From here we followed the country route and stopped at the homes he selected. I especially remember the spring of 1919 when he sold his merchan­dise and we both sold mine, which was a history of World War One. From my profits I bought a bicycle. While I drove, he often talked of early happenings in the area, or about the family who lived here or there. Much of this I have forgotten. Now I wish I had taken notes, then I was more interested in a bicycle. The memory of the recent war plus the higher farm prices made sales easier.


At that time there were four or five farm families for each one now. Our county increased its population from about 8000 in 1860 to over 23,000 in 1890. The census of 1920 still listed almost 23,000, but now we are back to the 8,000 figure of 1860. The 1860 figure included many natives of England, Scotland, Wales and Germany who worked in the Bowlesville Township mines. Many of the miners lived in or around the communities of Middle Mines, Saline Mines and the village of Bowlesville, which once had a population of over 300. Once busy Bowlesville had three streets, which were designated as Log Row, Box Row and Brick Row, which describe the houses on each. It was the headquarters of the Bowlesville Min­ing Company. Only the long abandoned brick hotel was there on my last visit. It is said that Robert G. Ingersoll made his first political speech in the old log school on Log Row. A ferry once crossed the Saline River west of Saline Mines. Most of these mining families moved when the mines closed many years ago, though a few descendants remained to take up other occupations. A resurgence in coal mining activity in that area was mainly responsible for an increase in popu­lation in 1970 over 1960. We probably have more people in the towns than ever before and fewer on the farms. The hope for a better life in the city was the main cause of the exodus from the farms. This has made possible larger farms with mechanization, which has raised the income of those remaining. Much of the once populated hill area of Southern Gallatin County is now a part of Shawnee Forest owned by the U. S. Government and covered with pine trees.


Letters and petitions preserved in the Territorial Papers, some of which are included in this article, indicate to some extent the settlement here when Galla­tin County was organized on 9‑14‑1812. Many of these came from points upriver. Following were many from Kentucky, particularly from the Muhlenberg and Christian County area, and then from Tennessee and the Carolinas. Most were from the farm areas and were looking for the low priced land of which they had heard. Most bought from the land office but records show that others paid from $400 to $600 for an improved 80 acres in 1820. From the opening of the land office in 1814












many bought land as an investment. Later some of these choice tracts were sold at a good profit. The last of the government land was entered in the 1850s. With most of the early settlers raising large families, the search for new or low priced land soon started over again, as the demand from the next generation pushed the price still higher.


Dr. Benjamin Rush, in writing on the frontier economy of Pennsylvania in 1786, stated that there were often three successive types of settlers involved in the making of a farm out of the wilderness. He wrote that the first is often a man who has outlived his credit or fortune in the cultivated parts of the state, who moves to an isolated spot, builds a shelter, girdles or deadens the trees on an acre or two where he plants Indian corn after loosening the ground. His pleas­ures mainly consist of hunting and fishing, and this furnished most of the food for his family. He often has a weakness for liquor, and the family life is crude. When hunting gets poor or neighbors near, they move again. He is usually suc­ceeded by a family of the second type which builds a good cabin of hewed logs, enlarges the fields, plants an orchard and grows more of a variety in crops. This farmer was often inefficient, however, and was succeeded by a farmer who made good. Dr. Rush pointed out that the first class of settler in new surroundings sometimes advanced through all three grades, and the second often went to the top.


This could be compared to Gallatin County 25 to 50 years later, where the squatter might compare with the first type, and those who bought farms at the government land office with the second type. Some of the second type were good farmers at the time they bought their land, who hired help and soon had their land cleared and in production. Others worked in the timber or at one of the many other jobs available in the new country. The making of barrel staves and hoop poles was big business here when so many things were shipped in barrels. The coming of the railroads caused a big demand for new and replacement railroad ties. V. W. Smith (1842‑1931) listed in the account book, which I now have the names of several men who during the winter hewed ties on his farm east of Ridgway. In 1871, thirteen men were employed in cutting and hauling wood to the railroad. He was the son o£ Joseph, storeowner and J.P. at New Market from 1858 to 1861. Uncle Peck, as he was called, was the last of the old soldiers in this area. He furnished employment for many men in clearing and farming his blackland farm, usually referred to as Pecktown. Many ties hewed with a broad axe are still in use on our local tracks.


Some were more at home in the timber than in the fields, and as the timber disappeared they moved on. The sons or grandsons often balked at paying a price of perhaps $20 for an acre that the folks had turned down at $1 a few years ear­lier. Often the parents could not resist the tempting offers and, being finan­cially fortified, they too joined the trek to the new areas. A few may have moved on account of debts. In the old general store account books I have seen two accounts marked off with the statements "moved to Ioway" or "left the coun­try". The move was almost always to the West. From here it was usually to Missouri or Arkansas during the period from 1870 to the early l900s. I have often heard the older men on the station bench mentioned earlier, talk of those moving to those states. The assembly place was Ridgway's East Edwards Street from Division Street east to Jarrell and sometimes to East Street alongside Valter's pasture. They gathered here to get last minute repairs at the Joel Lamb blacksmith shop or from J. B. Randall who advertised in 1894 as Lamb's successor. This was on Lot 3 Block 1 and later, on Lot 4 Block 4. As many as 20 wagons load­ed with the necessities for life in a new area waited here for latecomers and made last minute preparations for the trip. The railroad companies advertised special












rates to the home seekers, and the newspapers printed glowing accounts of the West as well as letters from those who had made the move. Many succeeded, a few failed after the move. One man who started with nothing showed me his cattle and pastures as well as hundreds of acres of soybeans on his Mississippi Delta farm when I visited him several years ago. I know of others who perhaps had less de­termination, ability or luck who required money from home in order to get back. In some areas here the population turnover was almost complete.


The beginning of a move to this area from adjoining Posey County, Indiana, was led by John (1782‑1875) and Alice Moye, four of their seven sons, a daughter and son‑in‑law, Ajax Fillingim (1811‑97). They were natives of Craven County, N. Carolina and settled in Center and Robinson Townships of Posey County about 1830. About 1856 they settled near what later became Fillingim School and New Zion Baptist Church in Sections 22 and 15 T8R9, donating the land for the school in 1859 and for the church a few years later. About 1870 their former Indiana neighbors began buying land in the area of Asbury M. E. Church in Section 1 and the Old Cottonwood Primitive Baptist Church on the east side of Sect. 3. By l9O0 thousands of acres of land north and east of New Zion had new owners from Posey County, most of whom 1lad accepted good offers from nearby farmers of German de­scent who were seeking land in that area. The turnover of inhabitants in both areas was very large. Coming to this area were members of the following families: Wade, Reeder, Rister, Reeves, Grant, Downen, Mills, Crunk, Wilson, Edwards, Ride­nour, Stallings, Gwaltney, Ramsey, Murphy, Hendrick, Thomas, Hardy, Givens, Allyn, Duty and Williams, and others I am sure.


The Irish or Pond Settlement centers on St. Patrick's, the first R. C. Church in the county erected of logs in 1853. The first of the Irish settlers of which we have record was John Lawler who in April 1828, purchased from the heirs of John Reyburn, the NE 1/4 of Section 24, T8R9 which is located a short dis­tance north of the church. He died in 1835 and was buried on a part of his farm, which later became the church cemetery. The grading and paving of the Shawnee­town riverfront in 1837 brought in more Irish who later settled on the rich land of this parish. William M. Harrelson had a general store 1/4 mile south of the church, which was called the Irish Grocery. It was across the line in New Haven Township, and he moved it to Ridgway early in the 1880s. Both church and store were on the old stage and mail road from Shawneetown to New Haven and Vincennes. There were many country stores, as well as those who sold from hacks or wagons prior to the auto age. Both sold much farm-slaughtered meat during the fall.


There were many improvements in this county between 1870 and l9O0. During this period most of the land was cleared much of it drained by ditch or tile. There were three or four brick and tile kilns operating in the county, and the Jacobs family had a cotton gin on their farm about three miles north of New Shawneetown. It is believed that they operated a gin earlier near Cypress Junction. The county reached its population peak of 23,791 in 1890, which is more than three times the present population. Shawneetown with a population of 1,764 is listed as fourteenth in size among towns in Illinois in the J. H. Colton Atlas published in 1856. The Illinois map in this edition shows the Paducah & Vincennes Railroad, now the Penn Central, and many other lines already operating at that time. The coming of this rail line eliminated much of the interiors dependence on Shawneetown and greatly narrowed her trade area. Though still an important town with energetic leaders, it never regained its earlier prominence as a business center.


An effort to link the romantic river with the new rail lines was made in 1870 when much money was spent in building the beautiful Riverside Hotel. Space will not permit a full description, but the ground floor was for stores and a drummers











sample room. The high ceiling second floor contained a lobby and dining room where parties and balls were held. It also contained an apartment and a bridal suite. The third and fourth floors had more than fifty bedrooms. Above these was a tower for river watching. There were special or excursion rates offered on the passenger trains, coinciding with shows or excursions on the riverboats or balls at the hotel. Couples came by train as far as fifty miles, especially to the grand opening in 1873. Many came and business boomed on these occasions, but expenses were too high in relation to business in general. It soon closed, and Henry Docker and the other stockholders turned it over to the banker, Thos. Ridgway, who rented and later sold it to the Cadle family who were operating it in 1897, or "dispensing hospitality", as a St. Louis newsman wrote. It was per­haps larger than the town justified. This picturesque landmark was razed in 1941 during the building of New Town as it was then called.


Omaha was laid out along the new railroad on part of the farm of Rev. Robert

Davis (1824‑1908) who was a C. P. minister for more than 60 years. He donated the land for the Palestine cemetery and the church, which he helped organize in 1852. He then served as its pastor for 50 years. He served as pastor and helped organize several other Presbyterian churches in the north part of Gallatin and the south part of White County. He and his sons also operated a large general store in Omaha. There was also an old church and school combination near the Old Bradley Cemetery, both of which Henry Shatteen (1869‑1965), attended. Mr. Shatteen, a small storeowner in Ridgway for almost 60 years, told me his parents attended church there before his time. Christmasville located near the center of Section 16 and about one mile north of Zion Church Cemetery had a post office in 1860. Later it had two stores, a blacksmith shop, a sawmill and a school. This North Fork Township trade center, called Elba in the community, now has only two or three houses left. A small coal-mining town of reddish tile blockhouses in Sect. 23 of T9R8 was listed by the railroad as Lawler Station but known by most as Guineaville. When the mine was abandoned about 1920, the houses were sold for salvage. Cottonwood in Asbury Township was once a busy place with a bank, doctor, stores, churches and a school; the churches and a few homes remain. A few other places had names, but of these, only Robinett was listed as having a post office by Johnson's Illustrated Family Atlas published in 1864. Their Illinois map shows what we know as Cypress in North Gold Hill Township as a large lake. This explains the 1876 land entries in this area as shown in the accompanying article. The map shows Equality as still one of the main road centers of Southern Illinois.


      The first third of the twentieth century also brought change and progress. Many remember Ridgway Township's first 2‑1/2 miles of hard road, which was surfaced with fist-sized rocks about 1912. I saved a picture of a steam engine pulling the heavy eight-foot high roller used on these roads. The roller was left on Mary Street for many years and used little, if ever again, because the rough rocks hurt the horses feet. The part from Ridgway east to the Peter Smith corner and north by Jackson Cemetery made a solid base for the present blacktop, however. The rest of our roads were dirt, which meant mud in much of the winter and spring and dust in part of the rest of the year. The worst of the mud holes had to be crosslaid with slabs. I have often heard the expression "the roads were rough but passable". As the automobiles became more common, better roads were needed. Early in the 1920s they began surfacing the main roads with gravel. The gravel was shoveled from a coal car by the driver, into a specially built wagon bed holding one yard and having a loose floor of two by fours for easy unloading. The gravel was dumped into a graded‑out bed 8 to 12 inches deep and perhaps 10 feet wide. My father, Leo, placed a wagon and team on the hauls, which lasted a few weeks during the summer. Sometimes we waited for gravel on one end and always had to wait our turn to un­load on the other, but the rest of the time was hard driving or hard work. The












unloading and reassembly of the gravel beds kept the wagons six or eight minutes apart at the start of the return trip. With more pay for more loads, some tried to get extra loads by passing other drivers. Scooping was the weakness of the younger drivers, but we usually held our own and enjoyed the challenge. One year our earnings more than paid for a new Studebaker wagon, the next went toward our first car, a Model T Ford.


      As for life on the farm in the early part of this century, there seemed to be work for everyone. Boys are now often eager to start driving tractors at 8 or 10 years of age. Then it was teams. Except for starting and stopping, a well-trained team needed little attention as it pulled a wagon loaded with grain or coal behind another wagon. I remember boys of eight riding a three horse plow or drag when needed. My father combined business and recreation with three or four group fishing trips to the lake or creek each summer with their seine, and an overnight camp­ing trip each fall to the bottoms for a supply of hickory nuts or pecans. Mother enjoyed trading trips to Ridgway. They made visits together but were busy the rest of the time it seemed. We all planted the garden, but she cultivated it, raised chickens, washed on the board using home‑made lye soap, cooked canned fruit, made hominy, and sometimes found time to help Dad husk corn or have the cows milked in the evening when we were busy in the fields. I have a copy of an interesting letter, dated 10‑31‑1864, by a Mrs. Irions of Hardin County to her Harrington and Northrup relatives. It tells of war rumors, neighborhood deaths, worries concerning her boys who were in the army, carding and spinning cotton for 27 yards of warp and of weaving linsey which she intended to use in making clothes for the family. Mom made much of our clothing, also wrote very interesting letters, and had she been of an earlier generation, I am sure she would have found time to card, spin and weave. She was almost 86 at the time of her death on 8‑4‑1972. There was feeding and milking to do before and after our two and three mile walk to grade or high school. Those who lived farther than three miles rode horses or

drove a buggy to high school. We had a windmill, but many had to pump water for their livestock. I can remember the troublesome point rows on the ditch that could have been straight, as well as the stumps and sprouts on the back of the farm. Mr. Henry Luckett, (1872‑1955), whose parents lived on and owned this part of the farm from 1883 to 1897, told me in the 1930s that the first ditch was the depression left after dragging logs through the swamp to the sawmill. This was done with ox teams soon after they moved on the farm. Soon after, the landowners used steel two‑horse scrapers to deepen the depression and the swamp and wasteland was on the way to becoming productive land. They had not completed the clearing when they left, so this explains the sprouts and stumps which, if not dug out, often last for many years.


      Corn was usually grown on the lowlands and wheat on the ridge or upland fields in this county. A straw pile and barn filled with hay furnished roughage for all livestock. With more work stock required to raise more corn, it seemed in our case that half of all the corn we harvested went to feed the horses and mules and for seed corn for the next crop. The rest went to a cattle shed crib or bin for market cattle or hogs and one or two milk cows. Many farmers called wheat their money crop, and threshing time was looked forward to by all. The Smith farm account book of the 1860s listed five men who cradled wheat at $1.50 per day and two boys who tied bundles at $.75 per day. At harvest wages were always higher. Common wages at this time were from $.60 to $1.00 per day and the ordinary farmer had only a few bushels of wheat to furnish bread for Sunday or special occasions. I have two large pictures of a threshing scene at my Grandmother Miner's in 1904 showing 56 people including ten neighbor women who came to visit and help prepare the noon meal. There were as many children as workmen in the group. She had good














wheat yields. Dad was renting the same land from her 15 or 20 years later when much of the natural fertility of the soil was gone, and yields were much lower. Except for the World War I period, wages and prices were also low. Most farmers stored wheat for flour, which was picked up as needed in 25 or 50 pound cloth bags, which found many uses in households short of cash. If my memory is correct, the mills gave 35 to 38 pounds per bushel. Wages were near what they were 50 or 60 years earlier. Men with families received about $.75 per day and a house to live in plus a cow to furnish milk and two hogs for meat. Sometimes flour was also furnished. Single men received the same wages along with their board. I know that in some cases even this wage was hard to pay. Money was freer and extra help was needed at harvest, and this meant higher wages. For corn shucking, wages varied but were usually around $1 for a 30‑35 bushel wagonload. I was among the majority who husked and scooped two loads each day while some were getting three. I remember land selling for $30 per acre, which would easily sell for $700 today. Chemical fertilizers and limestone had worked their wonders on this run down land during this period. Ridges of light soil, which had produced almost nothing, now did about as well as the dark.


A big migration from this area to the cities began during World War I. Much of it was toward the Alton‑Woodriver area of this state or to automobile parts or assembly plants in Ohio or Michigan. A Mr. Sarver from the Ford Plate Glass Co. Of near Toledo, Ohio, recruited several workers from here during a visit. In 1923 when I was 16, I followed a threshing machine for more than three weeks. I was one of the five or six pitchers in the first two, and drove one of the eight or ten bundle wagons in the last run, for my father. Each farmer in the group or run furnished two men and a wagon, and furnished the noon meal for all the workers if they were threshing his crop at mealtime. The farm wives often tried to excel in preparing good meals. These made the men's work more enjoyable, if not easier. With the stumps and sprouts about all rotted or grubbed out, and having a brother two years my junior, I decided to use the harvest wages to fi­nance a search for a job. A few days later I was working at the Specialty Fur­niture factory in Evansville, Indiana, proud of the S.30 per hour and $16.20 per week. Within two weeks my friend and classmate, son of our nearest neighbor, was working at a nearby factory. The next fall, with more experience and confidence, I was working under Mr. Sarver at the Rossford branch of the glass plant. Here we made door glass and windshields for autos, and the wages were much better. I never missed a day's work there except when, after giving notice, I quit to cure my homesickness. I worked there four times in three years. During this time my brother had started working in East Alton. I have written chiefly about the lives and moves with which I am most familiar. In general I feel that they are typical in many ways and differ only in detail. The unusual fact is that two young brothers came back to Gallatin County after living in the city. In the early 1900s many of our people moved to Saline and adjoining counties where they worked in the mines. The move away from our county continues today. Eight of our nine children are in the cities; the youngest is still in college. It is the same with most of their generation. Of those who have stayed, most have a wide acquaintance and move at a slower pace in a friendly community and have a good life with most city conveniences and without many city problems. We have pro­ductive soil, several nice lakes and the Pounds Hollow Recreation Area, which had some very interesting rock formations. It is located in the scenic southwest part of the county and offers camping, fishing and bathing facilities.


We have in Shawneetown, Equality and New Haven, three of the oldest and most important towns of early Illinois. Much of the early life prior to the formation of the state centered around these communities. Clarence Edwin Carter who com­piled the Illinois Territorial Papers in 1948, included two business letters from













the Postmaster General of the United States to George Robinson, Postmaster of Shawnee Town, and James Ratcliff, Postmaster of the U. S. Saline, of Indiana Territory. Both were dated December 17, 1812. The name of the latter was changed from Saline Post Office to Equality Post Office on 7‑20‑1827. A large part of the territory's revenue came from the salt works in 1812. New Haven on the Little Wabash River was important as a river trading post with a river crossing or ford, as well as Boone's fort and water mill. Quoted earlier in this article from Goodspeed's Gallatin History o£ 1887, is an account of Jonathan Boone's coming to New Haven in 1812. There is some disagreement among early writers on the relationship and part played there by the Boone family. Joseph, said to be a son of Jonathan, entered the land in 1814 and sold it to D. North and William P. Robinson in February 1818. The building of the palisade indicates an early date and the Boone family caution. Squire, one of the five brothers of Jonathan and Daniel, had a fort in Kentucky where the family operated a mill as early as 1783. None of the family was found in the 1810 or 1818 area census. Jonathan Boone, age 50 and born in Kentucky is listed as the head of family #382 in the 1860 census of New Haven. The relationship, if any, is unknown. The Boone Family by Hazel A. Spraker in 1922 states that Jonathan Boone died in 1808 after the building of the mill. He would have been old at this time.


New Haven was platted in October, 1818, by the buyers of the Boone property, William P. Robinson and Darius North, who were mentioned in the Posey County History of 1885 by Goodspeed, as Mt. Vernon's first storekeepers. I have a copy of a part of this survey showing the reservations for church purposes between Main and Mill Streets as well as the mill on Water and Mill Street. Between the river and Water Street there is a ridge in front of the Richardson home. This is said to be the burial spot of many of the early settlers including some members of the Boone family. I have been told that there were two large flat rocks, the length and width of a grave, as well as from four to ten of the early thin type stones plus a few sandstone or fieldstones at the head of graves. Some of the older people knew this as the Boone Cemetery, others as the Indian or Old Cemetery. The names are all that remain today. A new survey or addition was made in 1835 in which one block bounded by Marshal, LaFayette, Fort and Melvin Streets was reserved as a burial site. Of the four or five elderly people that I talked to, none know of any burials there.


Along with copies and notes from the 1818 New Haven and the 1854 Crawford account books, I have the originals from several stores dating from 1858 to 1940. In the latter year Saturday was still the big day with business on our corner equaling two or three other days. Cars had to go two or three blocks from the square to find a parking place, and the sidewalks were filled with happy people. Some visited until ten or eleven o'clock before going to the stores, which usually closed at midnight. J. Robert Smith, past president of the Illinois State His­torical Society, made an interesting address at the dedication of the Boone marker at New Haven on July 11, 1971. He told how the people of the area lived over 150 years ago, what they bought, sold and traded; what they wore and ate and drank; how they worked and hunted. He later wrote, I knew how their forefathers lived in 1818. The facts came from reading and studying the worn, faded pages of the old ledger from a pioneer New Haven trading post. It was loaned to him by Andrew Bosaw who found it in 1928 in the cellar of the old log building near the old mill on Mill and Water Streets. After the store, it had housed a variety of other businesses, before being razed in 1928.


I have most issues of our local weekly newspaper after 1894 and copies of some very early county papers. Obituaries and stories in these along with infor­mation from elder citizens, general store ledgers and farm record books tell much about people, their hopes, frustrations and friends. The unused part of one old












ledger contained unmailed letters of the 1860s as well as a partial diary. The farm record books tell of every day income and outgo, where it came from and to whom it was paid and for what ‑ often a calendar of daily events. The territorial court order book of 1812 to 1818 is getting very dim. Along with the settlement of estates and other items, it tells of the differences between men and how they were settled. I have added the names of about 170 jurymen and many of the others to my bulging notebook. I have tried to preserve anything that had a story to tell on local history. Often a clue from one book is explained in another. Cemetery inscriptions tell many stories.


My interest in old cemeteries began with the stories I heard as a boy of the old Downen farm and homes. Death of my great grand parents, Joseph J., (1828‑67), and Elizabeth Downen Moye, (1833‑71), left their children, including my grand­mother Lucretia Alice Miner, (1863‑1927), without a home. They finally ended up with their grandfather, George Tilman Downen, (1805‑80), in Section 32 three miles southwest of Blairsville in Posey County, Indiana. George T. had eleven children by his first wife, Lucretia Culley, (1809‑45), and seven daughters by his second wife, Ann Owen Givens, a widow with at least three children. Her parents were Thomas and Elizabeth Owen. Most of the children settled northeast of Ridgway.


Grandmother, a widow, lived near us and was often alone, so as a small boy I spent much time with her. As relatives visited, conversation often drifted back to the busy times at the old Downen home place. I remember talk of often having twenty‑five at mealtime, the cool water from the never failing spring, the vineyard and the large orchard. The three food items, which they always had plenty of, were cornbread, apple butter and sorghum molasses if my memory is correct. They produced most of what they used or ate on the large farm. They butchered and cured lots of meat, but often it failed to last through the season.


Josiah Downen, Jr. had entered this 160 acres in 1814, sold the south half in 1820 to his elder brother, Timothy, who built a log house on the northwest side of the tract. George T., son of Timothy, purchased the other 80 acres in­cluding Josiah Jr's old home in 1831. Later he acquired much of the adjoining land but continued in the old log home near the spring until the 1870s when he built a new two‑story frame home about twenty feet north of the old one. They continued to use both homes, and for many years they were assessed separately as the new and old house.


When I decided in the early 1940's to search for the old place, the picture had changed, though Downen descendants still owned the farm. Only a pear tree remained from the orchard, the old house with the big fireplace had been gone for 25 years, the new house now old was filled with hay. The spring had been filled in, but it was found on a later trip. Its cool water had found another outlet much farther down the hill. The cemetery was near to where I expected to find it. It was on the ridge, perhaps 300 yards south of the George T. Downen home, and east of where I have heard the Timothy Downen home was located. The cemetery, almost forgotten, was covered with brush and briers and many of the stones were down, but it still told its story. Timothy's marker, (1777‑1828), was the oldest, but there were many others, relatives and neighbors. What I found here, along with the memories encouraged more research. Other descendants became interested. Meetings were started about 1967. We all worked together in collecting data from the widely scattered branches of the family. In May of 1970 this information was turned over to another descendant to be compiled into a Downen History. With more than 500 advance orders for the book, we are all looking forward to its completion.














This book is by no means a complete history of Gallatin County, or of her people. This would take much space and time, and besides, much had already been written on the county's history. This book is more a collection of sketches from the time of the first settlement to about 1940. An effort has been made to pres­ent items with which the writer is most familiar. The material for these sketches has been collected over a long period of time. At the beginning it was because the collector enjoyed hearing the old people tell of the happenings that occurred either in their early days or those they had heard from their elders. Later, still with no idea of publication, old letters, farm records, store account books and other old items were collected which substantiated and refreshed the memory of many of these old stories. Visits by the elderly to the homes where they felt welcome were much more common before old age pensions, radio and television came along. The news and stories that came with these visits of a few days helped break winter's monotony.


In the early 1950's, John W. Allen, historian at Southern Illinois Univer­sity and past president of the Illinois Historical Society, began writing stories under the title "It Happened in Southern Illinois". These were published in many newspapers including our local weekly. In a story on old cemeteries, he stated that their inscriptions were the only link to an earlier generation remaining in some areas. He wrote that these were becoming eroded and unreadable in some cases, and in others the markers had been removed and the cemetery destroyed. He urged someone in every county to copy these inscriptions before more were lost. Others shared his views, but I decided to make a start in spite of my work, which kept me occupied six days a week. For many years I spent part of my leisure time, mostly on holidays or Sunday afternoons, in copying and searching because I continued to hear of other cemeteries. As I sought directions to one, I was often told of others when I mentioned what I was doing. I enjoyed these fall and winter hikes, and except for the Brannon and Callicott in Bowlesville and a cemetery in Eagle Creek Township, I found all I heard of. The few markers in these may have been moved earlier, but there are possibly other cemeteries still intact which I failed to hear of. I did find more than twice the number that I expected to find in the county. Except for four cemeteries, I copied all inscriptions personally, and most were complete. Those passed by were some of the more recent and were in cemeteries in current use. There were probably a few missed unintentionally, others were old and worn ‑ on these I used chalk. Some markers were more or less covered with dirt or brush; on these a hoe was used. In spite of precaution, letters or a numeral may have been missed. I listed the cemeteries under the names I heard them called, some may have more than one name. Sometimes I spent hours searching for and minutes copying small cemeteries. Others required several trips to complete.


In a few cases the maiden name of the wife was added in parenthesis in order to better identify the family. The land entries, listed by townships, usually showed the first location of the settler, however, many were here for years be­fore buying land while others bought much for resale. I believe that errors in this story, the cemetery records, or the land grants are minor and few. I have tried to avoid any errors, but pinpointing land descriptions is difficult. Some old records are dim and hard to read. Mistakes here or elsewhere could have been made. Writing is not one of my strong points. My experience is limited to a few short stories on the history of Ridgway, and our churches and schools, written for and used by local groups and newspapers. Because so much of his­toric value has been lost, I have concentrated on collecting and preserving what remains of it. However, neither the collecting nor the preserving is of value unless shared by those interested. It is with this in mind that this has been compiled and is now offered.














Much credit is due Mrs. Mary A. Anderson for her interest and assistance in the preparation of this book. In the last few years, she has spent a great deal of time on research in this area. We have exchanged many items on local history during this period, and she has recently finished typing extra copies of the cemetery records. I copied and mapped the government land grants and have found the map of value in many ways when used in combination with other early records. She has spent many weeks in preparing, typing and indexing these land grant and cemetery records.


Among those making lesser though important contributions are Mrs. Harriet Vaught who has copied many cemeteries in White and other counties, my daughter Mrs. Robert B. Williams, the Fillingim family, the Geo. K. Jones family, John Tanner and Mrs. Nell Hemphill Pittman. Members of our Gallatin County Histor­ical Society and many others deserve thanks for their part in preserving so many pictures and records of earlier times, for generations of the future. The Historical Society has assembled an interesting collection, which is on display at the Docker House Museum in Old Shawneetown.


I enjoyed October 14, 1972, visiting a few of our county's historic sites with Obvert Anderson our school librarian, and his wife Mary A., and Rev. Ralph Harrelson and his wife, Dessie. The Harrelsons, long active in the Hamilton County Historical Society, were anxious to visit the site of the Island Ripple Church as part of their research on early churches. Their last record on this church was when in 1865 it rejoined the association of Baptist churches. I drove to the home of Carl Wenzel who owns the rest of the farm from which the church and cemetery were taken. Finding the old road closed, we began our climb through the brush to the top of the hill. The wooded acre containing the cemetery was surrounded by high weeds and bushes. It was located on the north edge of the township about 3/8 miles north of the house. Most of the cemetery is enclosed by a heavy concrete and steel bar fence, which was new at the time of my earlier visit. I was told that a Spivey descendant returned from the city, spent some time and a few thousand dollars on its erection, with the hope that it would protect the resting-place of his beloved people. His forebears had probably attended church and school here when roads criss­crossed these hills. Now the place was isolated. Several cemetery snapshots were taken, and then we began the descent. The view across the valley had also undergone a great change since my earlier visit. Instead of the wooded hills and green fields around the old village of Bowlesville, we now saw the spoil banks of the strip mines. Next, we drove to Island Ripple. We parked nearby and walked down a path to the ford. The river was wide, and the water only a few inches deep as it ran over this long stretch of hard rock bottom. Except for the water's unusual color, this spot was probably little changed since it began serving as the main crossing for the salt wagons in the early 1800's. The salt spring has never changed either. We continued our trip through the melon country to the village of Cypress Junction, center of the early cypress groves and junction of our county's two railroads. In a search for the Half Moon Salt Licks west of Equality, we finished our day and my story.



Dated: January 1973



Glen Miner