1877 History of La Salle County Illinois
Sketch of the Pioneer Settlers - Troy Grove
The town of Troy Grove embraces Township 35, Range 1, and derives its name
from the fine tract of timber called by that name, which lies mostly within its
limits. The grove was named by Warren Root, one of the first settlers, from
Troy, N. Y., the place from whence he came. The Little Vermillion passes across
the town from north to south, near its eastern side, and through the center of
the grove, and furnishes a tolerable mill power. The grove embraces about three
sections of land in this town; the remainder of the town is prairie of good
The Trenton limestone crops out along the banks of the Little Vermillion, on Sections 25 and 35, furnishing a very good building stone, which is extensively quarried and of great value to the surrounding country. The Trenton limestone, at this point, is remarkably rich in fossils, making it a point of much interest to the geologist and the curious admirer of nature.
Hiram Thornton came from Virginia to Ohio, and to Troy Grove in 1831; was the first settler in this town; he settled on S. 14, T. 35, R. 1. He died in 1867. His wife was Robina Smith.
Warren Root, from Otis, Mass., and wife, Rosanna Goddard, of Granby, Ct., came from Troy, N. Y., to Troy Grove in the spring of 1833. Mr. Root came in the fall of 1832 and made a location, and returned for his family. He located on Section 11. Selden, the eldest son, preceded the family a few days, to prepare for their reception^ and died just before their arrival. Mr. Root died about 1848. Mrs. Root died in 18Y5, aged 95 years.
Nathan Wixom, brother to Justin D., from Tazewell County, came here in 1833, and settled on Section 35; went to California in 1843.
Reuben Wixom, from Erie County, N. Y., and wife, Clarissa Atwater, from New Haven, Ct., came to Sangamon County, I11., in 1827, to Tazewell County in 1829, and to Troy Grove in 1836, and settled on Sec. 10. He was the father of the Wixom brothers who came with him, except the two eldest, Justin and Nathan, who preceded him. He died in 1847. His children were: Justin D. and Nathan, above named; Chauncy, who came with his father, married Miss Hawks, settled on Section 10; Abram, married Miss Scott; Henry W., married Miss Tichnor, second wife Miss Eckert; Urbin, married and all the family settled in the vicinity of Troy Grove.
Justin Dewey came from Ohio in the fall of 1833, and settled on Section 13. He died in 1849, aged 70 years.
Thomas Welch, and wife,, from Pennsylvania to Ohio, and from there here in 1834; settled on Section 25. He died in 1862. He had a large family widely scattered, but noted for ability and prominence in their respective localities: Thomas, Jr., came with his father, he married Bethiah McLaughlin, and is now in Iowa; John, has been Chief Justice of Ohio; Belinda — then the widow Fairchild — came with the family, went to Rock River, then to Iowa, now in Oregon; one daughter, married Wm. Winterton.
Jesse F. Wixom, brother of Reuben, came from the same place, in 1835, and settled on Section 24. A local Methodist preacher; soon removed to Minnesota, and died there.
George S. Ransberger, and wife, came from Iowa in 1835, and settled on Section 25. His son, David S., married Rebecca Evans, and settled on Section 36; Catharine, married John S. Simpson.
William Winterton, from Virginia to Ohio, and here in 1834; married a daughter of Thomas Welch; he died 1855; his wife died before him, leaving three children, who have all left this county.
Welch, Ransberger, Simpson, Winterton, and Kelsey, all came from Sandy, now in Putnam Co., to Troy Grove, having stopped there temporarily.
Zophar Holcomb, and wife, Lucy Goddard, from Maine, with Gillett, in 1833. Had five children: Harlan, married Miranda Brook; Warren, died; Flora, married Asahel Baldwin, her second husband was a Mr. Button, she is now in Iowa; Sophia, married Mr. Axtel, they live in Kansas; Harriet, is deceased.
Riverius Goddard, and wife, Miss Buttles, from New York, in 1837; a blacksmith by trade; moved to Michigan. The widow Arsenith Bellamy, (who came in 1837 and died in 1848), Mrs. Root, Gillett, and Holcomb, were all sisters.
John Taylor, and wife, Rebecca Hopkinson, from England, came in 1837; settled on S. 35; died 1860; his wife died 1870. Two of the children are in Iowa. One in Ford County, Illinois.
Charles Stevens, a brother of Mrs. Levi Kelsey, from Berlin, Connecticut, in 1837; his wife was Ann Hopkinson, the widow Melville, when she married him; they moved to Oregon in 1852; are now at Astoria.
Roswell Dewey, from Great Barrington, Berkshire County, Massachusetts; settled here in 1838; died in fall of the same year. Had children: Sarah, married the Rev. Nahum Gould; William R., married Paulina Pratt, now in Mendota.
Richard Malony, from Ireland, in 1835; married Miss Gardner; settled on S. 33.
Hartly Setchel, from England, in 1837; he married Amanda Goddard, and settled on S. 2.
John Ferguson came in 1838; had two sons: James, married Miss Brown, lives in Mendota; John, is a bachelor, has been Supervisor of Troy Grove.
Thomas Orr, from Scotland.
David McLaughlin, and wife, Mary Winslow, came from New York to Troy Grove in 1834. Mrs. McLaughlin died in 1867, and Mr. McLaughlin died in 1869. Their children were: David, who married Fanny Davis; Edward, married Phebe Masterman, live in Minnesota; William, married Miss Edwards, and lives at home; Augustus, married Amanda Stevenson, live in Dimmick; Mary Jane, married O. J. Gibbs, both are dead; Bethiah, married Thos. Welch, now living in Iowa; Sarah, married Samuel Wilson, of Rock Falls; Charles, married Melissa Wixom, daughter of Justin D. Wixom, live in Dimmick.
William Dunlap, from New York, came to Troy Grove in 1836, and remained here two or three years. He had three sons and two daughters: Nathaniel, Minzo, and M. L. The last was a prominent horticulturist, and was for many years distinguished as the agricultural correspondent of the Chicago Tribune over the signature of "Rural."
Jason Gurley came from East Hartford, Ct., to Ottawa in 1834, and to Troy Grove in 1835. His children were: Jason, Jr., who came to Calumet in 1830, and to Troy Grove in 1835, and bought a claim of Welch; Julius, was killed at Ottawa by a fall from the bluff; Joel, died in 1848; John A., of Cincinnati, was a noted Universalist preacher, and editor — was appointed Governor of Montana, but died before assuming the office; Delia, married Ralph Woodruff", of Ottawa; Sarah, married Joseph Hall.
Wm. A. Hickok, from Grand Isle Co., Vt., to Union Grove, Putnam Go., in 1833; June 16, 1834, to Bailey's Point with Rev. N. Gould and Isaac Fredenburgh, then to Granville and Troy Grove in Nov., 1836; was Deacon of the Presbyterian Church; opened the first store kept at Homer; a worthy man. He died May 6, 1852; his widow resides with her daughter at Homer, much respected, aged 74. Had three sons: Lorenzo B., who is Supervisor of Troy Grove; Hiram, married Martha Edwards, and holds the office of Justice of the Peace at Troy Grove; James B., born and raised at Troy Grove became notorious on the western frontier and earned the sobriquet of "Wild Bill"; a man of superior physical form, over six feet tall, lithe and active, he was more than a match for the roughs he met on the debatable ground between civilized and savage life, and is said to have often killed his man; at one time he is said to have killed four in sixty seconds— they were on his track seeking his life. He served with Jim Lane in the Kansas troubles. He was elected Constable while a minor in Kansas; was for two years U. S. Marshall at Abilene, and was regarded as a very efficient and reliable officer. He was killed at Deadwood, Dakota, Aug. 2, 1876. While playing cards his assailant came silently behind him and shot him through the head. His murderer was tried by a mob jury and acquitted, but subsequently arrested under forms of law, convicted and hung.
William Gr. Shed, and wife, Lucy E,. Noyes, from Massachusetts, came in 1835; died in 1851 or '52; his widow is now living. His children are: Harriet, who married James Hastings — she is dead; Clinton, married Emily Reed, in Mendota.
Joshua Brown, from Chester County, Pa., to Erie County, N. Y., came here in 1835, and settled on Section 10, at the head of the grove. He died in 1842. His widow kept a tavern, which all the old settlers will remember. She is now living at Rocky Falls; had a large family, none of whom are remaining here: Hannah, married Sylvester Warren; Lydia, married Martin South; Thomas, is in Bureau County; Sarah, is in California.
Levi Kelsey, and wife, Emma Stevens, came from Hartford, Ct., in 1833, first stopped on Sandy creek, in the spring, and then went to Paw Paw Grove, where he built the first house in that locality. He settled in Troy Grove in the spring of 1834; his family came in September of the same year. For the first three or four years he sold clocks and notions, and traded with the Indians; had a store on Sandy creek; here he cultivated a farm and loaned money; was a Justice of the Peace and Notary for twenty years; one of the oldest in the County, and Commissioner to divide the county under the Township Organization Act. In 1856 he moved to Mendota, and soon after engaged in banking; now retired. He has two daughters: Lydia A., married James 0. Cram, a Methodist preacher; Myra, married Geo. M. Price, now a retired banker, and lives in Mendota.
Charles B. Foster came from Massachusetts, in 1835, married Nancy Wixom, and settled on Section 34. Family of seven daughters.
Rufus Shed, brother of William Gr., came from Massachusetts in 1836; married Martha Welch. Has one son, Zaccheus, at Fremont, Nebraska, and one daughter.