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1877 History of La Salle County Illinois

Sketch of the Pioneer Settlers - Freedom

The town of Freedom embraces the surveyed Township 35 N., of R. 3 East, and is mostly prairie. Indian creek passes, in a southeast direction, across the northeast corner of the town. On the banks of the creek are about two and one-half sections of timber, which was originally of excellent quality, and was the attraction that induced the settlement. The settlement commenced in 1830, and was broken up by the Indians, in the Black Hawk war of 1832. After the war, the surviving settlers returned, and others came in, and, as a part of Indian Precinct, and later, as the town of Freedom, it has been a prominent and prosperous section of the county. The sad story of the massacre of three families of its pioneers, gives a melancholy interest to its history, and to the locality where it occurred. Each succeeding generation, with bated breath, will listen to the recital, till the banks of Indian creek will become historic ground through all the future.

William Munson has recently erected a flue marble monument at the grave, where the fifteen victims were buried. It is in view of the public road, leading from Freedom to Earl, on the northeast side of the creek, and as the white column meets the view, the traveler will instinctively heave a sigh of sympathy for the tragic fate of the first pioneers. The inscriptions are as follows:

Killed May 20th, 1832. Wm. Hall, aged 45. Mary J. R. Hall, aged 45. Elizabeth Hall, aged 8. Wm. Petigrew, Wife, and two Children. Davis, Wife and five Children. Emery George.

William Hall, born in Georgia, was married to Mary J. R. Wilburs, in Kentucky; moved to Illinois; from there to near Springfield, Illinois, in 1825; made a farm at Mackinaw, and then went to the lead mines, near Galena; followed mining three years, then moved to Bureau Creek, and to near Lamoille, Bureau County. In the spring of 1832, sold his claim to Aaron Gunn, and moved to Indian Creek, where he, with his wife, and one child, were killed by Indians, May 20, 1832. His eldest daughter, Temperance, married Peter Cartwright, nephew of Dr. Cartwright. For the others, see narrative of the massacre.

Mr. Davis, from Kentucky; settled on Indian creek, S. W. 1/4 S. 2, in 1830 — the first in that region. His wife was daughter of John Hays, the first settler at Peru — they, with five children, were killed at the massacre. Their three oldest sons escaped.

William Petigrew, from Kentucky, wife and two children, were stopping with Davis at the time of the massacre, and all were killed. Mr. Petigrew came to Bailey’s Grove at an early day, and was then single; he is said to have married a widow, with two children, and these constituted his family when he went to Holderman's Grove, and from there to Indian Creek, in 1832, where he proposed to settle,

John H. Henderson, and wife, Elizabeth Powell, came from Tennessee in 1830, he located on Section 11. He was in the field on the south side of Indian creek, planting corn, when the massacre took place by the Sauk Indians, May 20, 1832; he, with others, escaped to Ottawa. He was an active, enterprising citizen, and a leading abolitionist. He died June 17, 1848, much regretted. His widow still survives, living with her children. Her children are: Mary, married A. P. Devereau, of Freedom; George, in Iowa; Frances, married Richard Scott, in California; Martha, married James Clark, of Sycamore; Sarah, married George Martin; Erastus T., married Miss Norton; Annetta, married Charles Martin, of Vermont.

William Munson came from Indiana to Putnam County, and from there here in 1833; he purchased the farm, owned by William Hall at the time he was killed by the Indians, on Section 1. He married Rachel Hall, who was taken away prisoner by the Sauk Indians, May 20, 1832. In 1837 he laid out the town of Munson, which has hardly realized the expectations of its founder. His wife died May 1, 1870. Mr. Munson still occupies the farm where he has spent the most of his life. He has four daughters and three sons: Irena, married Dr. Geo. Vance; Miranda, married Samuel Dunnavan, of Adams; Fidelia, married George Shaver, of Rutland; Phebe, married John Reed, of Ottawa; William, married Delia Shaver; Lewis and Elliott, at home.

David B. Martin, with his wife and one son, came from Ohio in 1833, and purchased the claim owned by Davis, where the massacre took place. Mrs. Martin returned to Ohio, and died there. Mr. Martin married the widow of Wm. Seabry; moved to Wisconsin, joined the Fourierites, then to Sangamon County, where he died.

John W. Lyman, and wife, Jerusha Newcomb, came from Charlotte, Vt., in 1833; he settled on Section 24. He has one child: John, married Emma Ford, second wife. Miss Williams.

Jonathan Root, and family, came from Ohio to the creek in the spring of 1834. He raised a family of eight children. His wife and two daughters died long since; one son, Rasina, was killed in the late war; the others are widely scattered; one only, Oscar, remains here. Mr. Root died in 1840.

William Barbour came from Evansville, Ind., in 1834; he married Miss Hinkley; was an active democratic politician; held the office of County Commissioner, and was a member of the Legislature. He died in 1876.

Ethan Z. Allen, and wife, Lydia Marsh, came from Tinmouth, Rutland County, Vt., in 1834; he settled on Section 13. He held the office of Justice of the Peace for thirty- five years, when he resigned in 1875. He has six children: Eliza Ann, married Edward C. Hall, she died in 1867; George, married Martha Larkin, in Iowa; Milo, at home; Minerva, married Richard Martin, of Freedom; Lucetta, married Newton Davis, in Harding.

Samuel King, and wife, came in 1836; nativity not known. Mrs. King died at John Henderson's soon after — the first natural death in town.

Benjamin Seabring, and wife, came from Pennsylvania, in 1834, and settled on Section 3; moved to Wisconsin, and died there.

Thomas Seabring, and wife, came from Pennsylvania, in 1834, and settled on Section 3; moved to California in 1852.

William Seabring, and wife, came from Pennsylvania, in 1834, and settled on Section 3; died in Ottawa in 1850. His widow married David Martin.

Volney Beckwith, and wife, Mary A. Piper, came from Herkimer County, N. Y., in 1835; moved to Ottawa. He died in 1861, leaving three children Edwin B., married Lizzie Hanfelt, live in Seneca Daniel, married Josephine B. Ford, live at Ottawa Mary P. married John Hoag, at Marysville, Cal.

Hiram Munson, came in March, 1833, and died in July, 1836, at the house of his brother, William Munson — the second natural death in the town.

Alanson Munson came in the fall of 1836, and settled on Section 11. In 1840, removed to Bureau County, where he and his wife died soon after.

Milton B. Ruperts, came in 1835, and settled on Section 1; he was the first Justice of the Peace in Indian Precinct. His wife died; he married a Miss Terry, and moved to McDonough County.

John Hubbard, and wife, from Homer, Cortland County, N. Y., settled on Sec. 14, in 1835. An industrious, worthy man; an excellent teacher of sacred music. He lived several years with an adopted daughter who married the Hon. M. B. Castle, of Sandwich, but returned to his farm a few years before his death in 1875.

John H. Hosford, and wife, Margaret Myers, came from Orange County, Vermont, to Ohio, in 1833, and from Ohio here in 1837. His family came in the spring of 1838, and settled on S. 23; removed to Ottawa in 1875. Has six children: Pear R., married Robert Rowe, on the old farm; Mary, married Hugh McClure; Arabella, married W. G. Brown; Sarah P., married Frank Condon; Josephine C, married George Lamb; Charles, married Sarah S. Brandon.

Rev. Wesley Batcheller, a Methodist clergyman from Brimfield, Hampton County, Mass., was for several years a resident of Homer, Cortland Co., N. Y., and member of the Oneida Conference. With his wife, Martha Hall, and nine children, lie came by wagon from New York to Illinois in 1836, and settled on Sec. 11. They encamped with such shelter as could be made while building a house. Mr. Batcheller is endowed with a powerful, healthful physical organization and commanding voice, which has enabled him to perform an amount of labor in his chosen field which few could endure. He commenced preaching in Indian Precinct in 1836, and labored in Washington Precinct two years; in Ottawa in 1839; Hickory Creek in 1840; Princeton in 1842; Newark in 1843; and was Bible Agent for the county for two years. He is now on the superannuated list, yet healthful and vigorous at the age of 77. Manly T. Batcheller, his second son, died in April, 1852; Angeline, died Nov. 4, 1854, and Mrs. Batcheller died Feb. 17, 1868. The children now living are: Noah S., who married Lucy Hitchcock, now at home; Charles, is in Dacotah; Martha, married William Haskell; Elijah, married Elizabeth Lawry, now dead; Mary, married John Stockton, in Kansas; Watson, married Elizabeth Baldwin, near home; Joseph B., married Louisa Wright, in Callfornia. Mr. Batclieller is now living with his second wife, Ruhama Sampson.

Bemus Hall, Mrs. Batcheller's father, arrived here a few days before his daughter’s family, and died soon after.

John Miller, from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, to Dayton, in 1837. Married Rosanna Bradshaw; made a farm in town of Freedom, where he still resides; has been town Supervisor, and served one term in the Legislature. Rebecca, married Martin Domini; Alice, married Ira Weaver; Jesse, Henry, and Dolly, at home.

Reuben Miller, brother of John, from same place, to Dayton, in 1834; married a daughter of David Letts; he is now a Mormon Elder in Salt Lake.

Charles Miller, also brother to the above, came to Ottawa, in 1836; was Magistrate in Ottawa several years; now lives in Chicago.

Urial Miller, from Pennsylvania, 1837; married Rachel St. Clair; settled in Freedom; has three children.

Benjamin Beem, and wife, Sarah Hoffman, from Licking County, Ohio: came to La Salle County in 1837, and settled on S. 12, on the right bank of Indian creek. Mr. Beem died, 1871, aged 8T. Mrs. Beem died, July, 1877, aged 83. Their surviving children are: Mary who married Levi Tucker, and live in Freedom; Elizabeth, married John Hoxie, of Serena; Phebe, married Jacob Tucker, of Sheridan; Sarah, married Elijah Knight, of Adams; Rachel, married Charles Brown, and are on the old farm; Daniel, and Jackson, are in California.

Stephen Sampson, from Wyoming, Pennsylvania, died of cholera, in 1838, or 1839.

James M. Parker, and Powell, relative of Henderson's wife, came from Tennessee, in 1838, but soon returned.

Dr. Josiah Hall, and wife, Elizabeth Arnold; blacksmith by trade; came from New York, 1840; resided here ten years; he died in Ottawa, 1874; his widow is now living in Ottawa.

Hugh M. Gregg, from New York; settled on S. 3; died, 1838.

Ezra Gregg, son of Hugh; studied law, and went to Ottawa.

Philip Wagy, from Newark, Ohio; father-in-law to Anthony Pitzer. Died in Ottawa, very aged. Ann, married Joel Fitch. The other daughter married a Mr. Randall.

Isaac Farwell, brother of S. B. Farwell, from New York to Ohio, and here 1836; moved to Winnebago County.

James Skelton; tailor, by trade; went to Ford County.

Enos Griggs, married Lovina Hall; killed by lightning.

George Scofield, from New York, in 1834; came through with an ox team; stayed one year, and went back with the 'same team; stayed in New York a year, then returned to the creek, as it was then termed; found the land all claimed, and went West.

Solomon Holden, from Plattsburg, N. Y., came to Buffalo; a brickmaker by trade; was sometime in the employ of the noted builder and contractor, and finally forger, Rathbun. He came to Illinois and settled in Munsontown in 1836; his wife was Susan Allen, sister to Esquire Ethan Allen, of Freedom; he removed to Ottawa in 1839, and died there, leaving four daughters: Sarah, married John Batcheller; Cornelia, married William Wiley; Mary Elizabeth, married Stephen Jennings, of Ottawa; Salome, married Henry King.

June Baxter came from New York in 1835; moved West.

Minter Baxter came from New York in 1835; died in 1840.

Samuel L. Cody, from Vernon, N. Y., settled on Section 13 in 1835, and married Miss Baxter^ second wife widow Kenyon, sister of his first. Children: Harriet, married George Frisbin Busnell; Louisa, married Walter Colton; Ford C.; Joy, died in the army; Frederick, at home.

Alonzo Wilson, from Ohio, came in 1838; a stone mason. He was School Treasurer here; went to Iowa, and there elected Judge.

Hiram Harding, and wife, from Wyoming, Pa., came in 1838, and settled on Sec. 14. He and his wife are both dead. His children are: Mary, who married Mr. Rice, is now dead; Charles, died single; Ruth, married H. Worcester; Park, died; John, lives at Paw Paw; Christine, married Mr. Goble, and was killed by the fall of the Dixon bridge.

William Williams, from Wales, came to New York, then to Licking County, Ohio, and here in 1840. He married Rachel Davis. He was a ship carpenter by trade; settled on Section 8. Mrs. Williams died in 1870. Ellen, married John Lymer; John, at home; Evan, in Dacotah; several children at home.

Charles Wiley, and wife, Seraphena Greenleaf, came from Maine, and settled on Section 10. He died in 1875; his widow and three children are living: Samuel, married Mary Thompson, at Earl; Henry, married Rosa Thompson; Martha, married David Davis, of Freedom.

Patrick Ferguson, came from Ireland, and settled on Section 9. He died in 1872. His children are: Charles A., who married Eliza Wiley, and his second wife, was Kate Conden; Mary, married James Leonard.

Rev. Charles Harding, from Lucas County, Pa., came in 1840. He was a Baptist clergyman, and organized the church at Harding, and preached, alternately, there and at Paw Paw. He died in 1843. His widow married Hiram Olmstead. He left one child, Almira, who married Ashbel Fuller.

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