1877 History of La Salle County Illinois
Sketch of the Pioneer Settlers - Bruce
The town of Bruce embraces that part of T. 31, R. 3, which lies northeast of
the Vermillion river. More than one-half of the town is timber land, bordering
the Vermillion, and Otter, Wolf and Prairie creeks. Much of the timber was of
superior quality, and the attraction which made this locality one of the early
settlements. The prairie is level, and the whole town is underlaid by a rich
deposit of coal. The settlement commenced in 1831.
George Basore, a native of Virginia, made a farm in the forests of Alabama, another in the heavy timber of Indiana, and from there moved to the prairie, and settled on S. 24, T. 31, R. 3, in 1831. Mr. Basore had a physical organization and powers of endurance that admirably fitted him for frontier life, and a genius and business capacity that did him good service when living isolated from society on the frontier. He was a successful farmer; his family manufactured all their clothing from cotton and wool, when at the South, and of flax and wool at the North, all of their own raising; he made his sugar and molasses from the maples on his farm, and with honey from his apiary, supplied aU his wants in that direction; he tanned the hides of his own raising, and from the leather thus produced, made his harness, boots and shoes; he owned a blacksmith shop and tools, did his own blacksmithing, and much for his neighbors. He was more independent of the rest of the world than civilized man often is. This capacity for all kinds of business was, from necessity, to some extent, acquired by all the pioneers. Mr. Basore married, for his second wife, the widow of John "Wood; he died in 1860.
Calloway Basore, son of the foregoing, married Sotter's sister, and died of cholera, just after returning from the land sale, in 1835. His widow married William Rainey, and after his death, she married Isaac Painter.
William Morgan, from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, came in 1833, and made a claim on the north part of S. 4, T. 31, R. 3. In the spring of 1834, he sold his claim to Gaylord Hayes, and moved to the south part of the same Section. In the winter of 1835-6, when returning from Green's Mill, at Dayton, he was benighted on the prairie, and the next day was found frozen, by his neighbors, within two or three miles of his home.
John Morgan, son of above, settled in 1838, on S. 11; went East in 1838, and returned in 1842, and finally removed to Iowa, where he died.
Mary Morgan, daughter of William, married William McCormick. A sister of above, married John McCormick, and Ann, married Rush Mackey. Eliza, married Thomas Sturgess.
Nathan Morgan, brother of William, from the same place, a bachelor, came in 1835; he died in 1836.
Thomas Sturgess, from Payette County, Pa., in 1834; went to Wisconsin.
John and David Setter, from Indiana, in 1834; John died soon, and David returned to Indiana.
William Rainey, from Kentucky, first came to Ohio, from there here in 1833, and settled on S. 25; married Sotter's sister, widow of C. Basore. He died many years since.
Norton Mackey, from Fayette County, Pa., in 1833, settled on S. 13. In 1836, in company with his brother, Samuel Mackey, and John Morgan, laid out the town of Van Buren on his farm, which, like many others laid out about that time, exists on paper only, the blocks, lots and streets are all obliterated by the farmer's plow.
In company with Samuel Mackey, he built a sawmill on Otter creek. He is one of the few residing where he first made his claim, on Government land. He married Elizabeth MoCormick; has six children: Libbeus, married Elizabeth Law, is living near the old farm; Charles, married Sarah Morgan, lives at Fairbury; Norton, Jr., married Jane Barnhart; Mary, married Thomas Simpkins; Jane, married Samuel Barnhart; Winfield, married Sarah Law.
Rush Mackey, brother of Norton, came from Pennsylvania at the same time; he married Ann Morgan, and has lived on the farm owned by Wm. Morgan, his father-in-law. He has five children: Burton; William; Howard; Rush, Jr.; Norval, married Christina Morse.
Benjamin Mackey, brother of Rush, from Fayette County, Pa., came in 1833, and settled on Sec. 9. He married Mary Shepherd, and still lives where he first settled. He has eight children: Joseph, married Harriet Trout; George, married Mary Morse; James, Rebecca, Jane, Mariette, William, and Ella.
William Donnell, born in Ireland, came to New York in 1835, and to La Salle County in 1837, and settled on Section 4; married Miss T. Mackey. Their children are: Agnes, Porter, Margaret, Alice, Mary, and Ross — all at home.
Widow Agnes Mackey, mother of Norton, Samuel, Benjamin and Rush, came from Pennsylvania with her sons in 1833, and lived with them until her death, Dec. 15, 1866.
Norton Gum, from Rockingham County, Va., in 1834; died in the summer of 1835.
Reuben Hackett, from Indiana, came in 1836, and settled on Section 9; sold to Samuel D. Wanchope, and removed to Ottawa and then West; served one term as Justice of the Peace.
Sam'l D. Wauchope, from Ireland, bought Esquire Hackett’s farm, in 1837; sold his farm, and located on Section 2; soon after, he married Elizabeth Hamar, of Vermillion; died about 1860, leaving eight children: Sarah, married Winley Stasen, of Farm Ridge; Samuel, married Mary Wilson; William John, married Jane Wilson; Thomas; Joseph, married Olive McCormick; Arabella, married Mr. Sexton; Jane, married Ward King; Andrew, married Martha Ward.
William Reddick, and wife, Eliza Collins, from Fayette County, Pa., came in 1835, and settled on Section 11. He was elected Sheriff of the county in 1838, and served as Sheriff eight years, since which, he has resided in Ottawa. A leading politician — he has been a member of both houses of the State legislature, a successful merchant and farmer. He is wealthy, but has no children to inherit his estate.
Gaylord Hayes, and wife, came from Barkhamstead, Litchfield County, Ct., to Hennepin in 1833, and moved on to S. 4, T, 31, R. 3, in the spring of 1834. He died in 1837; his widow died several years after. He left five children: Humphrey, married Miss Ellsworth and removed to California, now dead; Mary, married Sargeant Cummings, they live in Iowa; Samuel J., married Sophia Cummings, live in Farm Ridge; Philip C, married Miss Johnson, of Ohio, they live in Morris; he is now Congressman elect from the Seventh Illinois District; E. Timothy, lives in Marseilles; James H., of Cornell, Livingston County.
William Bronson came from New Preston, Ct., in 1837; he settled on Section 25, where he still lives. He married Eliza Fulwilder, has been Justice of the Peace, and has had five children: William, married Miss Walworth, and lives in Streator; Mary, died; George, is teaching in Streator; Frank and Ida, are at home.
John Fulwilder came from Richland County, Ohio, in 1833, and made a farm on Section 25. He died in 1867, leaving three children: Jackson, married Jane Benedict, of Livingston County; Eliza, married William Bronson; John, deceased.
Geo. L. Densmore, and wife, Maria Bronson, came from Woodbury, Ct., in 1840, lived in Ottawa one year, and then went on to Section 25; he served one term as Justice of the Peace, and died in 1872. His widow occupies the old farm, with Marius, her only son.
Isaac Painter came from Columbus, Ohio, in 1837; he married Nancy Springer; his second wife was Wm. Rainey's widow. He was a Justice of the Peace for several years, and died about 1870, leaving six children: Andrew, married Miss Quigley; Sarah A., married Adelbert Osborne; Uriah, married Sarah Elliott; Jane, married Willis Baldwin; Isaac, married T. L. Freer; Joseph H.