From its Organization to the Present Time*
County Commissioners.—1831, Thos. Galaher, Geo. Ish, John M. Gay; '32, Wm. M. Stewart, J. Strawn, Elias Thompson; '34, Wm. M. Stewart, Joel Hargrove, Aaron Pain; '36, Jos. M. Fairfield, Robert Barnes, Cyrus Bryant; '37, Isaac Parsons, in place of Bryant, resigned; '38, Isaac Parsons, R. Barnes, Moses Boardman; '39, John Robinson, in place of Barnes, res'd, Townsend G. Fyffe, in place of Boardman, res'd, Williamson Durley; '41, ----; '42, W. Durley; '43, Aaron Bascom; '45, W. Durley, Richard Harrison; '46, Samuel C. Bacon; '47, John Ong.
Supervisors—1857, J. S. Simpson, Chairman, T. G. Fyffe, J. W. Hopkins, Jas. R. Talliaferro; '58, A. Wardlaw, Ch'n, S. C. Bacon, Isaac Parsons, Wm. Allen; '59, A. Wardlaw, Ch'n, I. Parsons, H. Stickel, H. M. Schooler; '60, Joel W. Hopkins, Ch'n, Wm. Allen, S. C. Bacon, Henry Mills.
Probate Justice.—1831, ----; '33, J. P, Blake; '37, James J. Holt; '39 to '47, Thomas Atwater.
*These lists are not quite complete, as will be observed. If a dash does not intervene between names, it is to be understood that the officer last named held to the time of appointment or election of the one next named.
County Judge.—1847, E. B. Ames; '49, A. Bascom; '53, Joseph D. McCarty.
Treasurer.—1831, James W. Willis*; '34, Geo. B. Willis*; '36, Ammon Moon* (also elected in Aug. same year); '39, Joseph Catterlin; '43, Aaron Barlow; '46, John P. Hayes, to fill vacancy; '47, Jos. Catterlin; '48,Oaks Turner,* to fill vacancy; '49, A. Towle; '51, — ; '53, J. P. Hayes; '55, Oaks Turner ; '59, Elias Wright.
Circuit Clerk.—1831, Hooper Warren*; '36; M. P. McAllaster*; '38, Oaks Turner*; '47, William H. Brcwn*; '48 to '60, George Dent.
Recorder.—1831, Colby F. Stevenson*, H. Warren*; '35, Major P. McAllaster*; '39, O. Turner*; '47, Geo. Dent; '48, office united with Cir. Clerk's.
County Clerk.—1831, Hooper Warren*; '34, O. Turner* (also by election afterwards); '48, George Dent; '53, Wm. Eddy; '57, Amos T. Purviance.
Sheriff.—1831, Ira Ladd; '32, B. M. Hayes; '34, O. C. Motley; '36, James S. Simpson; '44, Jas. Durley (died in office Sept., '47 ; there being no Coroner at that time, James G. Todd was appointed Elisor); '48, J. G. Todd; '50, And. Wardlaw; '52, Wm. D. Wardlaw; '54, Amos T. Purviance; '56, Jefferson Durley; '58, John P. Gerberich.
School Commissioner.—1831, Nath'l Chamberlin*; '37, J. P. Hayes* (also by election); '47, Hiram P. White; '49, Luke S. Kimball; '50, B. C. Lundy, to fill vacancy; '53, C. Cross; '59, G. D. Henderson.
Surveyor.—1831, C. F. Stevenson,* Ira Ladd*; '32, B. M. Hayes*; '39, T. Atwater; '48, John P. Blake; '57, J. H. Widmer; '59, J. P. Blake.
Coroner.—1831. Aaron Pain; '32, John Robinson; '34-6, ----; '38, E. F. Skinner; '40, Wm. Clinginpeel; '42, E. F. Skinner; '46, Jesse Oren; '47, A. Towle, to fill vacancy; '52, Sam'l Winter; '54, Jos. P. Keiser; '56, ----; '58, Hiram P. White.
County Commissioners.—Feb. 1839, Geo. H. Shaw, Elisha Swan, Wm. Maxwell; Aug. '39, Warf. Bonham; '40, R. F. Bell; '41, C. S. Edwards; '42, Elias Thompson; '43, Wm. Maxwell; '44, C. S. Edwards; '45, C. S. Woodward; '46, Lewis Black; '47, David Myers; '48, John W. Bettis; '49, Jesse B. Bane.
Supervisors.—1850, Theo. Perry, Henry Snyder, J. B. White, C S. Edwards, James Gibson, A. Ramsey, R. P. Bell, Wm. Maxwell, Amasa Garrett; '51, Perry, Maxwell, White, Bell, Ramsey, re-elected, T. Harless, Nath'l Gants, Jas. Mellen, Geo. W. Mead, Joshua Powell; '52, Bell, Ramsey, Powell, Gants, Mead, re-elected, John Ramsey, Matthew Hoyt, J. W. Maxwell, Thos. Judd, D. W. Danley; '53, Judd, Danley, Powell, re-elected, C. S. Edwards, Wm. A. Perkins, Sam'l Maxwell, Jesse B. Bane, A. Garrett, Joseph Holmes, John Burns; '54, Edwards, Danley, Perkins, Garrett, Holmes, re-elected, A. Ramsey, J. Caldwell, Wm. Maxwell, C. Springer, J. H. Brown; '55, Edwards, Ramsey, Danley, Caldwell, Garrett, Brown, Perkins, re-elected, James Miller, Samuel Camp, H. L. Crane; '56, Edwards, Ramsey, Crane, Camp, Garrett, re-elected. A. S. Sherwood, B. Fowler, Thomas Ellis, Sam'l P. Henthorn, B.W. Halstead; '57, Camp, Danley, Halsted, Crane, Ramsey, Sherwood, re-elected. Henry Sargent, Lewis Black, A. H. Trowbridge, John A. McCall, Alex. Wright, J. C. Townsend; '58, Ramsey, Black, Trowbridge, Sherwood, McCall, Crane, Camp, Halstead, Townsend, re-elected, Enoch Dent, B. A. Welton, Amasa Garrett; '59, Crane, Camp, re-elected, L. Broaddus, H. B. Barnes, W. A. Perkins, J. M. Vandervort, N. Moore, H. S. Gregory, Wm. T. Lytle, Alden Hull, Wm. Atwood, Alex. Wright; '60, Camp, Vandervort, Barnes, Moore, re-elected, John Burns, Wm. Cornwell, A. Garrett, Jos. Buchanan, H. Gregory, A. S. Sherwood, James Hoyt, William Hancock.
Probate Justice.—1839, William H. Efner; '43, Hezekiah T. Crane.
County Judge.—1849, Silas Ramsey; '53, P. M. Janney; '57, G. L. Fort.
Treasurer.—1839, Anson C. Deming; '41, Lunsford Broaddus; '43, Levi Wilcox; '45, ----; '47, R. B. Rogers; '51, Theodore Perry; '53, Sam'l Maxwell; '59, Ira Norris.
Circuit Clerk.—1839, James; ’31, Shannon*; '46, John Burns* (in '48 by election); '52, G. L. Fort; '56, James Wescott.
Recorder.—1839, C. F. Spevers; '44, J. Burns.
County Clerk.—1839, Ira I. Fenn*, A. S. Fishburn, James M. Shannon; ‘45, David S. Dickinson*, to fill vacancy; '46, Sam’l C. Cochran, to fill vacancy; '47, Silas Ramsey; '49, W. E. Cook.
Sheriff.—1839, Silas Ramsey; '42, Addison Ramsey; '48, H. L. Crane; '50, G. L. Fort; '52 and '53, Crane re-elected; '54, A. Gardner; '58, Thos. Ellis.
School Commissioner.—1839, John Wier; '47, L. Wilcox; '49, A. Wall; '51, S. Camp; '53, L. Loring; '55, Chester Covell, Jas. Miller; '59, W. W. Heath.
Surveyor.—1839, J. Sawyer, H. Atwood; '45, T. Patterson; '55, W. H. Bushnell; '57. M. M. Stimpson; '59, James M. Vandervort.
Coroner.—1839, George F. Case; '44, J. W. Bettis; '46, D. M. Robertson; '48, — Green; '50, H. L. Crane; '52, Lewis G. Keedy; '54, Manuel Snyder; '36, Ira Norris; '58, John C. Gore.
Thomas Hartzell, one of the earliest residents of Putnam county, was born in Northampton Co., Pa., in 1790, of German ancestry. In 1819, he visited the Western country, traveling on horseback as far as Kaskaskia, whence he returned to his native State. Three years afterwards, he came back by way of the lakes, coasting along the shore in a Mackinaw boat, passing through Chicago down the Illinois river to Crooked Creek, then in Pike county, where he halted to trade with the Pottawatamies. From that time for a number of years he continued trading with the Indians of the Illinois river, remaining among them during the cold season, and returning: to his headquarters at Mackinaw or Grand Island in the spring. He spent the winter of 1827-8 in traffic with the Indians of the Putnam county region, meeting with considerable opposition from the American Fur Company, who had a station near Hennepin.— The next winter was passed in Peoria, and in 1829 Mr. Hartzell took up his residence at Hennepin, building a rude log trading-station in the wilderness, as it then was. Here he remained for several years, trading with Indians and whites, and witnessing the growth of civilization around him. In 1836 he sold out his stock of goods, having amassed a large property by the toils, privations, and hardships he had experienced in savage and pioneer life. Some years afterwards, he removed to Chicago, and thence to Waukegan, where he now resides. He is very aged and feeble, and has suffered much for three years past from various diseases, no doubt induced by the exposure and hardship of his early career.
*No especial pains have been taken to collect notices of old settlers. Those which follow are merely such as the author finds unused among his notes, correspondence, and other papers.
Capt. William Haws, the oldest settler in Putnam county, was born in Madison county, Va.; Sept. 23d, 1800. His grandfather on the paternal side was a soldier of the Revolution. At the age of five years he was taken with the family to Warren Co., Ohio, where they resided for many years, meeting with some annoyance from the Indians of that locality. About the age of seventeen, he set out to do battle with the world for himself, and went to work as apprentice to a tanner and currier at Wilmington, the county seat. While still a youth, he heard the distant roar of the cannonading at the gallant defence of Lower Sandusky, by Croghan. In 1821, Capt Haws came to Sangamon Co., in this State, and started a tan-yard about six miles south of Springfield. Sangamon then extended north over a vast wilderness tract to the Indian line, and Springfield was a village of five or six log houses. Nov. 13th, 1823, he was married to Miss Lucinda Southwick, whose parents had emigrated to Madison Co. in 1819, and to Sangamon the next year. In Sept., 1828, with two others named Slater and Knox, he prospected the Putnam country, returned for his family, and re-moved to his present location near Magnolia the same autumn. There was then, save him, no permanent settler in Putnam county. The first preaching and first election in the county, and the meeting; of Commissioners to locate the county seat, were at his house; and he was a member of the first Grand Jury of Putnam. On the breaking out of the Black Hawk war, he promptly offered his services, and was chosen Captain of a ranging company. In 1847, he was appointed to lead a large body of emigrants across the plains to Oregon, which he successfully accomplished, and returned via California, Mexico, South America, and Cuba. He is still in the enjoyment of vigorous health, has acquired a handsome fortune, and lives much respected by his neighbors and friends.
James W. Willis.—In the Peoria Register and North-western Gazetteer for Sept. 8, 1838, an article appears distinguishing Mr. Willis as “the first white man that planted corn in Putnam county.” It is there stated that in the spring of 1819, Mr. W., then living in Ohio, came to the West and looked over the southern counties of Illinois, finally settling in Bond county. In the fall of 1826, he set out to look at the upper country, which he explored as far as the region of Magnolia, in Putnam Co., where he made a claim, returning the next spring with his brother. Mr. Willis believed that "he was the first white man who had penetrated thus far into the wilderness with the intention of immediately settling." The brothers put up a cabin, broke ten acres of land, and planted it with corn and potatoes—the first, Mr. W. claimed, in Putnam county. They were frightened away by news of the Winnebago war that year, but returned in the autumn, and found that as fine crop had grown, unfenced and uncultivated. The younger brother took this claim shortly after, and the elder removed to the Union Grove Settlement.
Hoover Warren, Esq., has been identified to some extent with the early history of the State as well as of Putnam county. In 1819, he established the "Spectator" newspaper at Edwardsville, which was for years the only journal in Illinois opposed to slavery, then a much and fiercely agitated question.— During the memorable contest of 1823— upon the issue of slave or free institutions for Illinois, Mr. Warren was among the leaders of those opposed to a Convention, and his paper, says Gov. Reynolds, “waged a fiery and efficient warfare during the whole canvass." He has since been connected with a number of journals, mostly in the interest of the Liberty or Abolition party; and is, with a single exception, the oldest living editor in Illinois. When Putnam county was formed, he was residing in Galena; but, being appointed Clerk of the Circuit Court by Judge Young, he removed to Hennepin early in 1831, where he gave prominent assistance in the organization of the county, and received, in addition to the office of Circuit Clerk, successive appointment or election to the offices of County Clerk, Recorder, and Justice of the Peace, all which he held at one time. In 1839, Mr. W. removed with his family to Henry Prairie, in Marshall county, and in 1841 to the site of Henry, where he has since resided, with occasional intervals. Though far advanced in years, he still retains much of the intellectual and bodily vigor of his maturity.
Gen. Jonathan Babb, one of the founders of Lacon, was a native of Maryland, born in 1789 or 1790. While yet a child he was taken with his parents to Perry Co., Ohio, where he was brought up, and subsequently discharged the duties attaching to the offices of Sheriff and County Auditor with acceptance. During the war of 1812, at the call of Harrison for volunteers, he led a company to the defence of the north-western frontier; and was afterwards Brigadier General in the Ohio militia. In 1831, he purchased the site of Lacon, and had a town laid off thereon, in connection with Maj. Henry Filler, of Somerset, O.
Thither he removed in the fall of 1835, and was conspicuous in his efforts to build up the infant town. He expired at his residence near Lacon, after a lingering illness, on the 12th of May, 1843, deeply regretted by the people of the whole county.
Rev. Henry D. Palmer has long been held in honor as one of the most laborious and self-denying of the pioneer preachers of Illinois; and his is a great and venerable name in the churches of the Christian (or Campbellite) denomination. He was born April 19, 1782, in Oland Co., N. C. When about a year old, the family removed to the neighborhood of Winsborough, S. C.; and thence in a few years to Wilson Co., Tenn. In 1804, he was married to Miss Patsy Aingell, of Trumbull Co., and shortly after commenced preaching, being ordained in 1809 as a minister of the Christian Church. Subsequently, his convictions became aroused on the subject of slavery, and he determined not to rear his family under the influence of the "peculiar institution." Collecting a colony of Tennesseeans of similar views, he emigrated to this State, and settled in Edwards Co., while Illinois was a Territory, and that part a wilderness. In 1818, he moved into Indiana, founded a church near Carlyle, and gave the name to "Palmer's Prairie." He also represented Sullivan Co. two years in the House of Representatives, and assisted in the formation of the first Revised Code of statute law for Indiana. In 1835, he again emigrated to Illinois, settling with a numerous family on Half Moon Prairie, in Marshall Co. In 1847, he was elected to the Convention to form a new State Constitution, and served with honor and conscientious fidelity. All this time his pulpit efforts over a wide field of labor were scarcely intermitted; nor did they cease until his physical powers were totally prostrated. His last sermon was delivered in the summer of 1859. He now resides in Eureka, Woodford Co., very much enfeebled, but calmly and peacefully awaiting the summons to his reward.
*We are gratified to learn that materials are being collected, and that a Biography of “Father Palmer" is in contemplation.
There is no intelligible memorial left of the Illini Indians in this part of the State; but, since the explorer La Salle found a large village of these natives a few miles below Ottawa, and met them in large numbers about the head of Peoria Lake, it is an easy inference that the intervening country was inhabited at intervals by some tribe of the Illini confederacy—probably the Kickapoos. The nation of the Illini was nearly exterminated by the Mohawks and Pottawatamies, the latter of whom were found in possession of this region when the first white settlers came. They were a filthy and degraded race, peaceable enough when sober, but infuriated demons when intoxicated, and, with rare exceptions, possessing none of those noble traits which sometimes elevate the savage character, and make Indian history worthy record. They were generally on good terms with their white neighbors while they remained, and went off quietly at various times from 1831 to 1835, to the lands assigned them beyond the Mississippi.
Shau-be-na (Shab-bo-na or Shab-ba-nee) lived but little, if any, in Putnam county; but as he frequently hunted in this region with his band, and was well known to many of its old settlers, who owe a lasting debt of gratitude to him for timely warnings during Indian troubles, he deserves notice in this work.—Shau-be-na was an Indian of the Ottawa tribe, but was long a leading chief among the Pottawatamies. He was always a warm friend of the whites, but not invariably on the side of the Americans. He was with the British at the battle of the Thames, as Tecumseh's aid, until that king of red men had fallen, and he observed Proctor's forces retreating. Then, paid he, "Shau-be-na run too, and never fight for British any more." Ever after this, he was friendly to the Americans; was prominent in his efforts on behalf of the whites at the time of the Chicago massacre, and also in the prevention of another outbreak among the Winnebagoes and Pottawatamies, in 1816. Previous to the Black Hawk war, strong inducements were held out to him to assist in the foray upon the white settlements. He pretended to fall into the enemy's arrangements, but managed to get away from them, and by traveling night and day, gave the settlers on Indian Creek and at Holderman's Grove timely notice of the intended outbreak, which some of them unhappily disregarded, and paid the forfeit of their lives. The settlers of Putnam also received early warning from him. For these acts he incurred the deadly hatred of the hostile tribes, and lived long in constant fear of his life. His eminent services during the war were recognized by the General Government, which made a reservation of land for him at what is called Shau-be-na's Grove, where he lived for. some time, until the Government, regardless of his claims, had the tract surveyed and sold. He dwelt afterwards with his tribe on their reservation west of the Missouri; but was driven back by fear of the Sacs and Sioux, who retained their old hostility, and murdered one of his sons and a nephew. Twenty acres of land below Seneca, on the bank of the Illinois river, were purchased for him by the citizens of Ottawa, where he resided until July, 1859, when death called him away, at an age of over eighty years.— He was buried, contrary to his wish, at Morris, where no mark designates the resting-place of this unwavering friend of the white man. One of the last visits of Shau-be-na was to his old friends at Hennepin, accompanied by a number of his children and grandchildren, dressed and mounted in true savage style.
Se-nach-e-wane (Senachwine, or Snachwine) lived in a beautiful valley along the stream called by his name, in western Putnam. He is also stated to have lived at some period at the mouth of another creek of the name, which flows through parts of Marshall and Peoria counties.* Se-nach-e-wane was a chief of celebrity, but little is known of his history. He died about the time the first white settlers came to that region, and was buried at the angle of a high hill overlooking the valley in either direction. The following lines, commemorating the supposed farewell of the old chief, when summoned with his tribe to leave their happy valley, were written by Miss Clarissa M. Potter, of that vicinity, in 1855, and contributed to the "Free West," then published in Chicago.
*Peck's Gazetteer of Illinois, (1st ed.,) p. 303.
"Senachwine! Senachwine! how often thy stream Has echoed the sound as I uttered my dream; As, clothed in the language of hope or despair, The thoughts of my bosom thy wild winds would bear.
"In search of the deer 'cross thy prairies I've strayed, Have rested my limbs 'neath thy cottonwoods' shade; Delighted I've wandered thy wild scenes among— O how can I leave thee, fair theme of my song?
"But fate has decreed so; we must go away; Not much longer can I 'mid thy strange beauties stray; The Great Spirit bids us depart—it is well, The soul of Senachwine shall never rebel.
"Farewell, then, ye loved haunts, and you too, each foe, My blessing I leave you, while sadly I go; And I fondly look back, with a tear of regret, To scenes, O Senachwine, I ne'er shall forget.
"The days of my exile I feel to be brief; My warriors will soon mourn the death of their chief. My body they'll bury on yonder green hill, My spirit as guardian shall watch o'er thee still."
Shick-Shack was the name of a petty chief who lived near the mouth of Clear Creek, in Putnam Co.
He was an intelligent Indian, said to be of mixed Kickapoo and Pottawatamie blood. One of the early white settlers was employed by him to break up his ground for more thorough cultivation of crops than is usual among the savages.
Crow was another petty chief who lived in the Belle Plaine region, Marshall Co. From him the name of the prairie (Crow Meadow) and of Crow Creek was derived.
Black Patridge had his town below Crow Creek, near the southern border of Marshall Co. The destruction of the village, and the massacre of his band, have been related in chapter XI of this work.
Mark-whet (or Nar-po-et) lived in the neighborhood of Lacon, with a small tribe. He generally resided at a village near the railroad station, west side of the river, and was very friendly to the whites.
Gomas was a chief of some note, stated by Shau-be-na to have had a village two miles below Lacon, where traces of Indian occupancy are very numerous. Nothing was known of him by the earliest settlers.
There are a number of earth-works in Putnam and Marshall which may clearly be referred to the times of the mound-builders, but exhibit no striking feature of magnitude or peculiarity of form. They are usually mound-shaped, generally round, but sometimes long and barrow-like. In one instance (on the brow of the bluff opposite Lacon) they are disposed in a quadrangular manner, bearing a distant resemblance to a fortification, which would seem to be appropriately located at that point. In many cases large forest-trees are growing upon the works, proving that centuries have passed since their formation. Like other erections of this strange, unknown race of men, they are found generally in the vicinity of streams of water. Mounds of widely-varying size appear on the hills overlooking the Snachwine valley ; on the farm of the late Guy W. Pool, Esq., a few miles below Hennepin; a range of about thirty on the farm of Michael Weiss, three miles south of Henry; a number on the bluff west of Lacon, about half a mile from the railroad station ; several small mounds in Lacon; also on the Sawyer farm, two miles below; and in a few other places throughout the two counties. None of them have yet been excavated with any satisfactory result.
Indian antiquities are numerous. Arrow-heads, pipes, kettles, beads, tinsel ornaments, and other articles of Indian manufacture and use, have been frequently picked up. Burying-grounds of the savages are found wherever their settlements were, and their skeletons are sometimes exhumed from the top or surface of the ancient mounds. The sites of their villager may usually be traced with considerable accuracy, by depressions in the earth marking, the places where "corn-holes" were dug. At times the lodge-poles have been found still remaining where a village stood.
Source: History of Putnam and Marshall Counties authored by Henry Allen Ford, published in 1860