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HISTORY OF CASS COUNTY ILLINOIS - 1915 Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Page 870


   The present area of Cass County was settled between the close of the War of 1812 and the beginning of the Mexican War - a phase of the westward movement in United States History which carried the frontier line to the one-hundredth parallel and beyond. In that interval local governmental institutions were set up in the county, schools and churches established, and agriculture developed. Since the land was rich and yielded of its fruit in abundance, the rural, agricultural way of living entrenched itself very firmly. Although the presence of a large number of immigrants, especially from Germany, added a distinctly European flavor to the social and cultural life in the county, yet the fact that they originated almost exclusively in western and northern Europe and that they arrived in the county during the formative years meant that the inhabitants of the county did not face difficult racial and religious problems. While towns developed early and the railroad entered the region in 1857-1858, the farming economy maintained its hegemony in Cass County up until our own day.

   Cass County is located in the Illinois River basin, occupying an area 31 miles east by west and 17 miles north by south. The 294,400 acres within the approximate 400 square miles of the county are divided into three parts: prairie, wood, and river bottom lands.[1] When the early pioneers first entered the present limits of the county they found the grass on the prairie to be higher, in some places, than a man on horseback.[2] The woodlands contained trees of various species: oak, hickory, elm, sugar maple, black walnut, and linden were most prominent.[3] Although the surface is, in the main, rolling, some bluff elevations exist along the water frontage (45 miles on the Illinois and Sangamon). The land is about 630 feet above sea level.

Indians and the French


   The Mound Builders lived in the area in prehistoric days. The mound located in the Beardstown area region is evidence of their presence in the county.[9] They are considered by some anthropologists as earlier Indian groups. The Illinois Indians occupied the area for some time; and we know definitely that the Mascouten Indians, believed by some historians to be a subsidiary branch of the Illinois tribes, established a rather large settlement around the later site of Beardstown.[10] These Indians were driven out by the Miamis and Iroquois during the great wars between the Algonquin's and the Iroquois in the eighteenth century; and the area was then occupied by an invading group, the Kickapoo Indians. They were still around the northwestern portion of the county when one of the earliest settlers, Thomas Beard, arrived in 1819 on the site later to be named after him. Further east, along the Sangamon, in the neighborhood of the present town of Chandlerville the Pottawatomi's dwelt until 1825.


   While the Indians occupied the region French explorers and traders moving up and down the Illinois passed by and frequently stopped within the Cass County area. Marquette and Joliet and other explorers no doubt passed along the western boundary; and French traders used the Beardstown site as their headquarters in the decades preceding the settlement.

Coming of the Settlers, 1816-1840

           Founders of Beardstown, Arenzville, Virginia and Chandlerville           

   Although the earliest American settler in present day Cass County was Eli Cox, who arrived at Cox's Grove (later Sylvan Grove--in the eastern section of the county) in 1816, the first important group of settlers established themselves in the northwestern section. Thomas Beard (1795-1849), a native of New York State, arrived in the Beardstown area in 1819 and was soon followed by others. During the first few years the settlers were squatters. In 1827, however, Beard and Enoch C. March another early settler entered the land on which Beardstown was platted. The first sale of land occurred in 1832--the year of the Black Hawk War when Beardstown served as a rendezvous for the troops and a depot for supplies. <           /p>

   Among the other settlers in the Beardstown area before 1831 were: John Cettrough (or Chittrough), Timothy Harris, Archibald Job (who later moved to Cox's Grove), Seymour Kellogg, the Lindsleys, the Egglestons, John Baker, Jerry Bowen, the Three Carr brothers, the Reverend Reddick Horn, Amos Hager, Benjamin Horrom, John Knight, Solomon Penny and the Plasters family.


   One of the most prominent settlers in Beardstown in the early thirties was Francis A. Arenz (1800 - 1856) a native of Prussia. He entered the merchandising and real-estate business, and was very active in the early life of Beardstown. For example, in 1833 he began to publish the first newspaper in the county, The Beardstown Chronicle and Illinois Bounty Land Advertiser. In that very same year Arenz purchased some land in the northern section of Morgan County, and in 1839 he settled in the present town of Arenzville. Other settlers and German immigrants soon joined Arenz in his new settlement.


   Some persons attracted to Beardstown went eastward, and set up communities within the present limits of Cass County. In the early 1830's, Dr. Henry H. Hall (died in 1847), a native of Ireland and resident in the state of Virginia from 1818 to 1831, passed through Beardstown and decided to establish himself in the central portion of the county. He became one of the largest landowners in the county acquiring 1,475 acres of land and 20 town lots, and by 1837 was instrumental in securing the removal of the county seat from Beardstown to the central portion of the county on the site he called Virginia after his first adopted state.


   Dr. Charles Chandler also passed through Beardstown on his way to the Sangamon River Valley in the north central part of the county. He located himself on the site of Chandlerville in 1832 where he built the first frame house and drug store. The town itself, however, was not laid out until 1848, Abraham Lincoln being one of its surveyors.

Origin of Settlers, Population 1840


   Scattered throughout the county were many settlers and their families who preceded in time of arrival, the founders (except Beard) of the above-mentioned settlements. Perrin lists over two hundred persons who entered land in the northwestern area alone before 1831.


   Among the pioneers in the county we find the New England, Middle Atlantic, upper southern, and old northwestern and southwestern states represented, as well as at least a half a dozen German states (Prussia, Hanover, Hesse-Darmstadt, Bavaria, Bremen, and Frankfurt-am-Main), England, Scotland, Ireland and Switzerland. The German and northern pioneers were located, in the main, in the western part of the county (Beardstown and Arenzville vicinity); and the southern and western pioneers in the eastern part (Virginia and Chandlerville vicinity).[19]


   Population increased slowly during the first decades of settlement, and in 1840 there were only 2,981 persons in the county including 11 persons of color.[


   History of Arenzville, IL Arenzville Precinct--It's Early History Early Residence of the Settlers

   Since many of the Jockisch's moved to Arenzville the following is included. History of Arenzville, IL By Judge J. A. Arenz, Chapter XIV, History of Cass County, Illinois, edited by William Henry Perrin, Chicago, O. L. Baskin & Co. Historical Publishers, 1882.


Emigrants from Germany


   Among the early emigrants from Germany, were many who had been accustomed to good society, and had enjoyed the advantages of superior education. Some held diplomas from colleges and universities. As most Germans, they were lovers of music, and some could play on one or more musical instruments. The pioneer lives in a new country, where hard labor, coupled with innumerable privations, without amusements of any kind, necessarily drew that class together, who could not bring themselves to the belief that the only aim and object in life should henceforth be devoted to hard work only, for which they at best could only get board and clothing. They were generally called the "Latin farmers."


   A club, or society circle was formed, and social gatherings were had, sometimes at the house of one member, sometimes at another. Little concerts were gotten up, the instruments being piano, violin, flute, and violoncello. Dancing parties were occasionally arranged, and large hunting parties. A musical band was afterward organized under the leadership of a Mr. Holtzermann. This social circle continued for many years, until finally, when the number had increased to such proportion that no room was large enough to hold them, and some of the original members had by death, or removal to other parts of the country, made their places vacant, this very pleasant and useful club came to an end.


   Whenever an opportunity offered to play some practical joke upon a new comer, it was eagerly seized. One of these, which caused considerable merriment, is herewith narrated: Several new emigrant having arrived, some of the older settlers went with them into the prairie, to select a piece of land for farming purposes. A skunk, or pole-cat, was seen in the grass, and it was given out that these animals were highly prized for their beauty and valuable fur, and it ought to be secured by all means. To shoot it would damage the fur, as it was alleged. One of these new ones was told to approach very cautiously and cover it with his hat, which he adroitly accomplished; but the animal at that moment squirted its perfume at him, some of which reached his face and bosom. The man ran and jumped about, gesticulating wildly with arms and body, vomiting and hallowing, "Oh Lord! Oh Lord!" He was asked what was the matter, whether he was sick; to which he replied, "Don't you smell that infernal stink, or are your noses lined with cast iron?" Although it was at first pretended that no bad smell was noticeable, the hearty laughter of some of the party brought him to realize that a joke had been practiced upon him. Nothing could induce him to take the skunk, which had then been shot, home with him. He picked up his hat, which was a new one, carrying it at arm's length from his body, marching sulkily in the rear of the party, and when Arenzville was reached, the hat was gone too--he had lost it willfully. The hunting parties also furnished a great many amusing incidents. Game of all description, was found in abundance. The pond along Indian Creek were, in the spring and fall at times so covered with ducks that no water could be seen.


   The residences of the people at an early day were log houses, having generally one or two doors, one little window, or none at all, a big fire-place, and the furniture therein was generally a table or big chest, a bed and a few split-bottom chairs, which so completely covered the floor, that only a few visitors at a time could get inside the house. The door had on such occasions to be left open, so that one could at least see who his next neighbor was. These cabins were so open and airy, that in winter the snow would blow through the cracks, and in summer swarms of mosquitoes would surround the sleeper, and if the party could not afford the luxury of a bar, he must either have the hide of an elephant or be entirely insensible to pain. To scare off mosquitoes, some people made a big fire of weeds before their cabins in the evening, or in the fire-place, and under the cover of tremendous smoke arising, under coughing and sneezing, the evenings were passed, and thus the nights. Very early rising was the order of the day, for as soon as daylight faintly approached, every one hurried to leave his bed. There was no necessity of calling anyone to get up; the flies would relieve the mosquitoes from duty and perform this work effectually. In almost every house, or in the shed part of the cabin, was found a spinning-wheel and loom, to manufacture the yarn and weave the clothing and bedding for family use.


   The women were exclusively the manufacturers of these useful things, and on days of gatherings, or on Sundays, when people assembled for church purposes, before the service commenced, it was spoken of, how many yards of jeans, linsey-woolsey, socks, etc., had been manufactured by Mrs. So and So. The surplus of these articles not used for family purposes, were brought to the stores for sale, and jeans, socks, knit gloves and mittens, came in such abundance, that the storekeeper could not dispose of the same here, and had to ship them to St. Louis, then the New York of the western country.


   In order to prepare a complete history of the precinct of Arenzville, it will be necessary to refer to some events which preceded its organization.


   By an act of legislation, passed in 1837, it was declared that the County of Cass should be one of the counties of this State, that the county seat should be located at Beardstown on the public square, that the citizens or corporation should raise ten thousand dollars to defray the expenses of erecting public buildings, payable in one, two and three years from the passage of the law aforesaid; that an election for county officers should be held on the first Monday of August 1837; that Thomas Pogue and Dr. O. M. Long, notaries public in Beardstown, should open and examine the poll books in presence of one or more justices of the peace, etc.


   This contained in it the germs from which afterward bitter contentions arose about the county seat.

The Three-Mile Territory


   Cass County having been formed from the northern part of Morgan, this last mentioned county had retained the south halves of the townships north of the line, dividing townships Sixteen and Seventeen. This caused considerable dissatisfaction among the inhabitants of what was generally called "the three-mile territory," because the geographical situation of the county and the then existing settlements, were of such nature as to incline the people to prefer to belong to the County of Cass.


   Arguments were futile, and it was useless to expect to obtain relief by means of a new election when it was known by everyone that the county of Morgan could outvote Cass ten to one upon any question upon which both might be interested.


   Finally John W. Pratt, the member in the legislature from Cass, with the assistance of Francis Arenz, who at that time was one of the six members from Morgan and a resident within this three-mile territory, succeeded in obtaining the passage of an act of the General Assembly on February 26, 1845, allowing the people within the said three miles to decide by their votes, at an election to be held on the first Monday of May, 1845, to which county they would prefer to belong. This act further provided that all justices and constables in Morgan, who may reside in this territory, should hold their offices in the county of Cass, and for judges of election at the designated places of voting; the following persons were appointed: David Epler, John A. Arenz and Edward W. Turner, at Arenzville; Jacob Yaples, George Petefish and Peter Conover, at the house of Henry Price; Jonathan C. Bergen, William Montgomery and Z. W. Gatton, at Princeton; William Berry, Alfred Dutch and John Miller, at the house of William Berry.


This election resulted in nearly a unanimous vote for Cass County, only a few dissenting votes having been cast.


John A. Arenz and Charles Coffin, having been elected justices of the peace in Morgan County, continued to hold their offices in the new precinct of Arenzville, with the following boundary: commencing on the line between Morgan and Cass Counties, at the southeast corner of section 33, town 17.11, thence running east on said section line to the northeast corner of section 9, township 17.11, thence south to the place of beginning.


   The persons voting at Arenzville, for or against the three-mile territory to Cass County, are as follows: Joseph Thompson, Thomas Thompson, Jacob Lawrence, John Altman, Frederick Lang, G. H. Richards, David Epler, William Taylor, E. Hardy, H. B. Dun, Shad. Dun, Henry Meyer, William Kimball, L. B. Kimbal, Thomas Cook, Peter Light, Julius Philippi, Jacob Heinz, Jno. Orchard, James Jackson, J. L. Cire, Omar Bowyer, David Griffin, James C. Robertson, D. Wagner, Joel Stewart, Christ. Lovekamp, Frederick Brauer, Charles Sandman, W. H. Houston, Peter Arenz, I. P. McLane, Francis Mitchell, J. Creson, George [sic] W. McLane, Jep. Weagle, Jacob Epler, James Newman, George McPherson, Richard Mathews, N. Carter, Frederick Lovekamp, Henry Howell, Alexander Ferguson, Henry Wedeking, Jacob Drinkwater, Frederick Kilver, Sq. Houston, H. Lippert, James V. Pierce, Charles Cooper, Jeremiah Cawood, Joseph Houston, Daniel Sumner, Peter Schaaf, Elder Hardy, George A. Treadway, Charles Robertson, Christ. Rahe, John Marshall, Christ Grave, Victor Krueger, Henry Goedeking, Philip Yaeck, Louis Boy, Isaac Drinkwater, Henry Phelps, Silas Miller, Randal Miller, Thomas Burnet, Samuel Harris, George Hegener, Henry Lovekamp, Frederick Fricke, Daniel D. Comstock, David Sharp, Isaac Houston, Adam Schuman, Frederick Wedeking, William Teilkemeier, Herman Lovekamp, Frederick Hackman, J. L. Comstock, Daniel Dun, Henry Carls, John Carls, Henry Krems, John Houston, William Hackman, William Meyer, Herman Eberwein, J. F. Skinner, George Manuel, Alexander Pitner, Henry Detmer, Joseph M. Webster, George Gunther, John Thompson, George Diehm, Henry Buck, J. C. Carter, John James, Tenna James, Nicholas Houston, Theo. Burchird, Isaac Coy, Henry Menke, Jacob Menke, Frederick Kummel, Charles Merz, John Wies, John Doell, Christ. Crowell, John Masch, M. P. Bowyer, V. G. Smith, J. A. Arenz, Joseph Thompson, Joseph Kircher, G. Hackman.


   There were also inhabitants of the Arenzville Precinct, who voted at the house of Henry Price, which was their nearest voting place; among that number were: Oswell Thompson, Christ. Crum, James Crum, who came from Indiana in 1830, and who is the only living person among the first settlers in that neighborhood, and nearly 76 years old. There also voted Thomas Fozzart, John Wood, Charles Jockish, William Reside, Ernest Fletcher, David Wilson, John Dobson, John Clark, William Nesbit, Anthony Boston, William C. Miller, L. C. Pitner, Thomas Nesbit, David Hamacker, J. H. Melone, Samuel McClure and others. (continued)


   By Judge J. A. Arenz, Chapter XIV, History of Cass County, Illinois, edited by William Henry Perrin, Chicago, O. L. Baskin & Co. Historical Publishers, 1882.