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1877 History of La Salle County Illinois

Sketch of the Pioneer Settlers - Brookfield

Brookfield embraces T. 32, R. 5, and that part of T. 38, R. 5, which lies south of the Illinois river fraction is all timber or bottom land. The first settlement commenced in 1833 and was confined to the skirts of the timber adjoining the prairie, or to the bottom along the Illinois, while the settlements have gradually extended south over the prairie region during the forty years that have intervened.

It is all now occupied by a thrifty and prosperous people, although an old pioneer will recognize in the southern part the prairie grass and wild flowers of the early day, reminders of the olden time, and that the civilized occupancy is comparatively recent.

Geo. W. Armstrong, the first settler in Brookfield, came from Licking County, Ohio, with his mother, Mrs. Elsa Strawn Armstrong, in 1831; he made a claim on S. 28, T. 33, R. 3; but John Hogaboom jumped it and finally bought it for $28. Armstrong made a claim on S. 1, T. 32, R. 5, and moved on it in the fall of 1833; was encamped there when the stars fell, Nov. 13th, of that year; made a farm and has resided there since, except when a contractor on the Illinois & Michigan Canal. Mr. Armstrong has been prominent as a politician; has been Town Supervisor, and Chairman of the Board several years, and has served five terms and still is a member of the Legislature. He married Anna Green, of Jacksonville, I11., and has nine children: John G., married Nellie McCann, lives in Ottawa; William, is in Colorado; Julius C, married Hattie Goodrich, and is a Congregational minister in Cook County; Eliza M., married William Crotty, now of Kansas; Joseph, at home; Marshall, is in Chicago University; Susan, married Robert Laughlin, and lives on the line of Grundy County; James B., at Champaign at school; Charles G., at home.

John Drain came from Licking County, Ohio, in 1833. He died at Abraham Trumbo's in 1835.

Dr. Frederick Graham, from Westchester County, N. Y., first to Ottawa, and then settled on Section 8, in 1836; a practicing physician for many years. He and his wife are both dead.

Levi Jennings, and wife, from Fairfield County, Ct., to Oneida County, N. Y., and from there to Illinois, with a large family, in 1834; he made a farm on the Illinois bottom, on Sec. 19, just east of James Galloway. His wife died. He spent the last few years of his life with his son-in-law, G. W. Jackson, in Ottawa.

Levi Jennings, Jr., a native of Connecticut, when 17 years old, went to Beaver County, Pa., and while there his father moved to Illinois. He married Emily Allis, and moved to Illinois in 1835, and first settled near his father, then on S. 8, T. 82, E. 5. He died in 1852, aged 60. His widow survives, aged 69. His children are: Matthew, married Clara Ferguson, lives in Brookfield; Mary, married Richard Gage, of the same place; Henry, the first child born in Brookfield, lives in Allen; Frederick, married Lucy Bishop, lives in Allen; Lucy Ann, is in Marseilles; Catharine Louisa, married Reuben Smallen, of Allen; Julia, married John J. Ford, of Brookfield; Emily Jane, married Geo. S. Beach, a Congregational minister, in Ohio.

David Jennings, brother of Levi, Jr., died single. Stephen Jennings, brother of Levi, Jr., married Mary Elizabeth Holden, and lives in Ottawa.

Ebenezer Jennings, youngest son and half brother of the foregoing, died in California.

Daughters o£ Levi Jennings, by his first wife: Hannah, married Gr. W. Jackson, of Ottawa; Mary, married George Macy, of Ottawa; another daughter married a Mr. Goodell; and one married Eldridge G. Clark.

Daughters of Levi Jennings, by his second wife: Julia, married Daniel Ward; Aphelia, married Gershom Burr; another daughter married a Mr. Goodell.

Eldridge Gerry Clark came with the Jennings family from N. Y.; died here soon after.

William H. Goddard came from Boston in 1836; disgusted with farming after four years' trial, went to Louisville, Ky., and pursued his profession of a dentist. His wife was a sister of the somewhat noted writer, James Ross Brown.

Richard Edgecomb, from New Providence, West Indies, came in 1835; moved to Ottawa.

Rev. George Marsh was born in Norfolk County, Massachusetts; when five years old removed to Sutton, Worcester County; when twenty years of age, removed to State of New York; lived there until thirty-eight years of age — the last ten years in the city. Came to Illinois with his wife in 1835, bought a part of Section 4, and subsequently settled on Section 16, where he now lives, at the age of 81. He officiated as a Presbyterian clergyman for a third of a century, and although his field of labor was a humble one in the sparsely settled outskirts of the county, he led a pure life, and his influence will be felt long after he shall have passed away. He has a family of three children; the oldest, George G., is a Government clerk at Washington; John James, and Mary E. A., are at home.

George S. Maxon came from New York in 1837, and settled on Sec. 2, T. 82, R. 6; a substantial farmer and worthy man. Sibel, his wife, died in 1861, aged 63 years, and he died in 1867, aged 73. The history of his family is peculiar and sad. His son, George S., Jr., died at the age of 39; his wife died before him, and two of his children are deceased and two are living; Paul, another son, died at the age of 26, he was injured while raising a building, and died a year or two after from the effect of the injury; Lewis, another son, while chopping in the timber cut his foot with an axe and died in a few hours from loss of blood. His daughter, Julia, married a Methodist preacher, was divorced, came home and died. Another daughter, Roxy, married an Englishman, who started for England and was never heard from after. David, the only remaining child, lives adjoining the old farm.

Asa Lewis, from Troy, K Y., came in 1837, remained four or five years, and went to Wisconsin. His son, Cyrus B., married Mary C, daughter of Christopher Ohamplin, and lives at Marseilles.

Isaac Gage, from New Hampshire, came in 1837, and settled on Section 8. He married Lucy Little, daughter of James Little, of Eden. Mr. Gage is a wealthy farmer. He has four children: Louisa, married S. T. Osgood, and lives at Marseilles; Harriet E., Ida A., and Benjamin Frank, are at home.

Gershom Burr, from Fall River, Mass., and wife, Mary E. Norris, from Bristol, R. I., came in 1836. Married Ophelia Jennings— his second wife — and settled on Section 20, afterwards called Burr’s Grove. He removed to Ottawa, in 1844, and engaged in merchandising until his death. His children are: Sellick, married Miss Newton, and lives in Ohio; Gershom, lives in Ottawa, unmarried; Mary, is in Rhode Island; Ophelia, married Dr. Farley; Charles, married, and lives in Michigan.

Reese Ridge way, from Licking County, Ky., in 1834, and settled on S. 4, T. 33, R. 5.

Stephen G. Hicks settled on S. 30, T. 33, R. 5, opposite Marseilles.

A Mr. Stevens bought the place of David Jennings, sold to Levi in 1834, and was supposed to have been killed in Chicago in 1835, for his money.

Peter Consols and John Wilcox settled on S. 30, T. 33, R. 5, in 1834.

Guy Dudley settled on Section 25, in 1833.

Capt. Tylee settled here in 1838; is now living in Vermillion. One daughter married William Seeley, and another married Samuel Seeley.

Oliver H. Sigler settled in the town about 1840 — has several children.

Silas Austin came in 1836.

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