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1877 History of La Salle County Illinois

Sketch of the Pioneer Settlers - Farm Ridge

Farm Ridge embraces all of Township 32, Range 3, except Sections 31 and 32, which lie on the southwest side of the Vermillion, and are attached to and form part of the town of Vermillion. It is all prairie except the extreme southwestern portion, which borders the Vermillion. The most striking topographical feature is a high ridge or swell extending northwest and southeast, parallel with the general course of the river, from which the town derived its name.

The ridge is from two and a half to four miles from the Vermillion, and forms the divide which separates the waters which flow into that river from those that run to Covell creek and the Illinois. The substratum of the ridge, to a considerable depth, and coming within six to eight feet of the surface, in the western part of the town, is composed of pure washed sand, from which issue several large, never-failing springs of water. The descent from the summit or divide to the Vermillion river is quite abrupt, while to the northeast it is more gradual. A similar ridge, though not as high, runs nearly east and west across the north part of the town, while the central part is more level, but, as a whole, has a most excellent and well-drained soil.

The first settlement here, as elsewhere, was confined to the vicinity of the timber, and consequently to the southwestern part of the town.

William McCormick, Samuel Mackey, and Rees Morgan, came from Fayette County, Pa., and were the first settlers in the town of Farm Ridge.

William McCormick settled on S. 18, in 1833, and in 1834 broke the first prairie broke in the town; in 1835, sold his claim, crops and improvements, and located on S. 3, town of Bruce. He married Mary Morgan, and has had eleven children: Sanders, in Iroquois County; Hampton, in Strawn; Bruce, in Champaign; William, in Strawn; Ann Eliza, married Mr. Bodine, now in Iowa; Mary, in Champaign County; Rees, Worth, and Morgan, in Ford Co.

Samuel Mackey settled on S. 33, in 1833; sold to Charles McCormick, and removed to S. 1, town of Bruce. In company with his brother, Norton Mackey, built a saw- mill on Otter Creek. In 1839, in company with Rees Morgan, built a saw-mill on the Vermillion, in the center of a heavy timbered region, which did a large business for several years; he died in 1854; he was the first Supervisor of the town of Bruce. His widow, Sarah Morgan, is living in Streator. He left children: Malvina, married Mat. Morrison; Stephen, married Emma Holly; Minerva, married William Cad well; George and Jabez, are single; Agnes, married Methuel Bronson.

Rees Morgan, son of William Morgan, of Bruce, settled on S. 33. He married Rebecca, daughter of David Reader; in 1838 sold to Marvin W. Dimock, and moved on to S. 8, T. 31, R. 3; after running the saw-mill on the Vermillion for several years, he served one term as County Treasurer, then removed to Dayton, and is now living at Strawn, Ford Co., Illinois. He has several children.

Elmer Baldwin, Beebe Clark, James B. Beardsley, and Noble W. Merwin, came from New Milford, Connecticut, in the spring of 1835. Bought the claim, improvements and crops of William McCormick, and the claim of Alfred McCormick - purchased the land at public sale, at Galena, in June, and settled on Sees. 18 and 19, T. 32, R. 3.

Noble W. Merwin sold his land to Solomon Brown and Kirjeth A. Hunt, in the spring of 1836, and moved to Ohio.

James B. Beardsley brought out his wife, Laura M. Piatt, and settled on his purchase in the spring of 1836. His wife died in July, 1837. The same year he married Prudence Barrass, from Saratoga County, New York. In 1850 he sold his farm to Rev. Daniel Baldwin, from Connecticut, and removed to the town of Vermillion, where he now lives, an active member, and Deacon of the Baptist Church. His son, George, and daughter, Harriet, wife of Augustus Hall, live near him. Sidney P., the son of his first wife, died at the age of 19.

Beebe Clark settled on his farm as soon as purchased. In 1837 he married Susan Bishop, of Connecticut, and cultivated his farm till 1869, when he sold, and moved to Joliet, to live with his daughter Henrietta, an only child, the wife of the Rev. Chas. A. Gilbert; he died Feb., 1870, and his widow died two years after.

Elmer Baldwin brought his family, consisting of his wife, Adeline Benson, and an infant daughter, Mary, now the wife of Rinaldo Williams, in the spring of 1836; his wife died in January, 1837. He married Adeline O. Field, of Worcester County, Massachusetts, in May, 1838, and still resides on the land purchased of the United States in 1835, a farmer and nurseryman. He held the office of Justice of the Peace fourteen consecutive years; Supervisor of the town five years; Postmaster twenty years; School Treasurer of the town from its first settlement, till 18Y4; twice a Representative in the Legislature, and once in the State Senate; and a member and President of the Board of State Charities five years. His son, Noble Orlando, married Maggie Jackson, and lives adjoining the old farm. Susan Orvilla is at home.

Harvey Benson, and wife, Fanny Northrop, came from New Milford, Connecticut, in 1836; he settled on S. 29, where he died in 1841; his widow occupied the same premises till her death, in 1871. Their only child, Adeline, was the first wife of Elmer Baldwin.

Solomon Brown, from New Milford, Connecticut, in 1836; he settled on S. 18; he sold to Moses G. Hallock, in 1842, and moved to S. 13, T. 32, R. 2, where he died, in 1846; his widow, Armida Waller, died 1856. His daughter, Jane, married Marvin W. Dimock, now a widow, living with her brother, Henry. His son, Henry, is a minister of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and lives in the State of New York.

Kirjeth A. Hunt, from New Milford, Ct., wife and five children, came from Connecticut in 1836 and settled on S. 19, on the premises bought of Noble W. Merwin; remained one year, and returned to Connecticut. He sold his farm to Dr. Johnson Hatch.

Marvin W. Dimock, from Washington, Ct., came in 1838. He bought the farm of Rees Morgan, and married Jane, daughter of Solomon Brown. In 1850 he sold to Hiram Jackson, from Pennsylvania, and removed to Ottawa. In 1865, while showing a friend the animals in the park of Judge Caton, he was killed by a vicious elk.

The foregoing eight families constituted what was called the Yankee settlement. Five of these came in company from Connecticut by the way of New York and Philadelphia, by railroad from Philadelphia to Columbia on the Susquehanna, then by canal and slack water on the romantic Juniata to Holidaysburg, by the Portage Railroad over the crest of the mountains to Johnstown, thence by canal to Pittsburg and by steamer to St. Louis, and from there by a stern- wheel Illinois river boat to Utica, La Salle County — being five weeks on the trip.

Dea. Henry W. Gridley, and wife, Lucy Dickinson, came from Deerfield, Mass., in June, 1835, and settled on S. 1, where he resided until 1848, when he sold to Thomas Dunnaway and removed to Ottawa, where he now resides. His children are: Caroline E., married Henry L. Brush; Chas. H., is deceased; Laura W., married Dr. D. Hopkins; Lucy S., at home.

Wm. Moore, and wife, Miss Wauchope, came from Ireland in 1835, and settled on S. 35, where he raised a large family. He sold his farm to Mr. Bossermans about 1854, and moved to Fall River. The practice of persistent industry and rigid economy has produced in the history of Mr. Moore what it always has done, the possession of abundant wealth.

John McCormick, brother of William, came from Payette Co., Pa., settled on Sees. 33 and 34, in 1835. He married Miss Morgan, daughter of Wm. Morgan. He raised a family of seven children. In 1875 lie sold his farm, and is now in Missouri. His children are: Charlotte; Ralph; Charles, married Lizzie Hays; Nelson; Zachery, deceased; Olive, married Joseph Wauchope; Dow.

Charles McCormick, and wife, from Fayette Co., Pa., parents of William, John and Alfred, came from Fayette Co., Pa., in 1836; bought the farm of Samuel Mackey on Section 33, where they died a few years after.

Alfred McCormick, son of Charles, came from Pennsylvania in 1835; made a claim on Section 19; sold and located on Sec. 38, and lived there until 1866, then sold to Mr. Hampson, and removed to Streator.

James G. Patten, and wife, daughter of Charles McCormick, came from Fayette County, Pa., in the fall of 1836, and settled on Section 33. In 1839 he removed to Wisconsin.

John Trout, from Brown County, Ohio, came in the fall of 1838, and settled on S. 6. In 1842 went to Ohio on a visit, and died there. He left six children: John M., married Abby Angell Fry, now living in Kansas; William C, married Mary Morehead, live in Vermillion; Susan, married John Morehead, now a widow; Sarah M., married Hiram Cole, and lives in Kansas; Harriet, married Salathiel Snell, in Deer Park.

Dea. John T. Ross, from Clermont County, Ohio, came in 1836, and settled on Sec. 6, and' died in 1837, aged about 80, leaving three children: Archibald Tweed, went to Missouri and died there; Henry, also went to Missouri; the daughter married John Black, and went to Iowa.

George Gleim, and wife, Katharine Weitzel, came from Germany to Baltimore, in 1834, and settled on S. 36, T. 32, E. 8, in 1840. His wife died in 1858, leaving two children: Frederick, who occupies the homestead, and is a successful farmer; Anna, is now living in Texas. Mr. Gleim married a second wife, by whom he had six children, all living in the town of Bruce.

Isaac Wheatland, and wife, came from England to Ohio, and from Ohio here; made a claim on Section 33, in 1836, where he lived till his death. His wife died about 1843, and he again married. About the year 1846 he was drowned while crossing the Illinois river at Ottawa. He left six children: Elizabeth, married William Wedgebury, now living in Iroquois County; Mary Ann, who married and went to Livingston County; one son died single; William, married Miss Casey, lives in Farm Ridge; George and Ellen.

Amos Clark, brother to Beebe, came from Connecticut in 1837; purchased a farm on Sections 20 and 29, and in 1839 sold to Myron B. Bennett, and returned to Connecticut.

Myron B. Bennett came from Connecticut in 1839; in 1842 he married Mary Stuart; he was an energetic and successful farmer; he died in 1856, leaving a widow and two children; his widow died in 1858. His son, Jasper, married Maggie Ackley, of New Milford, Ct., and lives in Evanston, I11.; Ella, at present, resides with them.

Dr. Johnson Hatch, and wife, came from New Preston, Ct., in 1837, and bought the farm of Kirjeth A. Hunt. An old experienced physician, his services were in demand during the sickly seasons of 1838 and ' 39, and the release from labor which he sought by coming West was hardly found; he returned to Connecticut in 1841.

John W. Calkins, and wife, Miss Page, came from Salisbury, Ct., in 1838, and settled on Sec. 19. Mrs. Calkins died in 1838. He married Miss Beardsley, of Connecticut, who died soon after. He then married Cynthia Bishop, of Connecticut. Mr. Calkins removed to Deer Park in 1842, and subsequently to Ottawa, where he died, leaving four children: James, who married, was engaged in the lumber trade in Ottawa, subsequently in Chicago, and is now manufacturing lumber at Manistee, Mich.; Helen, married Edgar Baldwin, from Connecticut, and lives near Vermillionville; Mary, married Henry M. Baldwin, from Connecticut, and settled in Deer Park — Mr. Baldwin died, and Mary is now the wife of Henry Page, in California; William W., married Louise Hossack, and lives in Chicago.

Charles H. Green, son of Henry Green, of Ottawa, came to Illinois with his father, and settled on Section 3; he married Jane Loyd, and has three daughters. Mr. Green cultivates a large farm and has a fine herd of short-horn stock.

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