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1932 Stories

By Albert Kollar, Dist. 42

Bruce township 31, range 3, lies northeast of the Vermilion river. According to the survey, Bruce township would extend across the river to the south, but the people said the expense of building bridges across the river would be far more than the land was worth so they let the river be the boundary line.

Part of the township, especially along the Vermilion, Otter and Prairie creeks, was a dense timber of good quality and attracted the woodland settlers to this place. There was also a level prairie here, too, and it had a vein of coal from six to nine feet beneath it.

During the year of 1831 the settlement began. George Bazore, who was born in Virginia, was one of the first to move West. He first bought a farm in Indiana. Later he moved from Indiana into Illinois and settled in Bruce township.

Mr. Bazore was a strong, durable man and well fitted for the frontier life. He served as a carpenter, blacksmith, mechanic and a successful farmer.

He first built the cabin in which they used to live. Then he began to plow the prairie. The plow he used was a big, clumsy thing. The beam on it was from eight to twelve feet long and was framed into an axel, on each end of which was a wheel, sawed from an oak log. This held the plow upright. This pioneer plow was a heavy, unwieldy apparatus and was pulled by a team of from six to eight oxen, and made a furrow about two feet wide. The sod, when plowed at the right time, was mellow and ready for use in about three months, but if plowed too late or too early it would rake about three years to rot. Mr. Bazore was successful in getting his prairie land worked the first year, and the first crop planted was corn. He used an axe to make a hole. He put in the seed then and closed the hole with the back of the axe. The corn grew well in the sunlight, but in the shade it would produce only a partial crop. In the fall he turned the sod so it would be ready to plant his crops in the spring.

He and his family did all of their manufacturing at home. They made their clothes from the hides, wool, and flax that they raised. He also made his sugar and molasses from the sap of the maple trees which grew on his farm. He had large swarms of bees and he got all of his supply of honey from them. In these ways he supplied all of his own wants and was very generous with the few pioneers that were scattered about the country. He had a large herd of cattle and sheep. From the sheep's wool they made their clothing, and from the cattle they got their meat and hides. These were very useful, for he made all of his harness, shoes, boots and other things from the hides.

The blacksmith shop he owned was fairly equipped with tools for blacksmith work. He did the work for himself and the few pioneers around him.

At the time of the Black Hawk war he was the only settler on record who was living in Bruce township.

Mr. Bazore was more independent than most pioneer people, for he was skilled in so many different kinds of labor. He chose for his second wife the widow of John Woods, and they lived happily on his farm till his death in 1860.

Our farm is a part of the Bazore estate, and it has a nine-foot vein of coal beneath it. We farm the land in summer and dig coal in winter. It also has a large timber on it, and is located on the northern bank of the Vermillion river.

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