[ I ]
The first white settler in the Grand River Valley was Martin Parmer, who, in 1817 or 1818 built a cabin on Parmer's Creek, five miles east of Brunswick, and there resided alone for a few years, removing in about 1822 to Clay County. He at one time was State Senator from this district. He was a rough, uncouth, illiterate man, but of strong common sense and perfect integrity.
Parmer (the name is sometimes spelled Palmer) was an eccentric character. He called himself, and was widely known as "The Ring Tailed Painter" (panther). In a speech before the Legislature he declared that he was a "Ring Tailed Painter from Fishin' River, wild and wooly, hard to curry when I'm mad. I fight, and when I fight I whip. I raise my children to fight. I feed 'em on painter hearts fride in rattlesnake grease," etc.
Prior to the white occupation of Livingston County the Indians had full possesion. The Iowa tribe of Indians had one or two towns here, and so did the Sacs (or Sankees) and Foxes, and perhaps the Pottawattomies, all of whom occupied the Grand River country from time to time.
Until November 16, 1820, the territory now embraced in Livingston County formed a part of Howard County. After the date mentioned, it became a part of Ray County, until January 2, 1833, on the organization of Carroll, when it was attached to that county. While this county formed part of Ray it was included in Missouriton Township until May, 1832, when it was made a part of Grand River Township.
When Carroll was organized the territory became again Missouriton and Grand River Townships. By the year 1836 there was enough people in the territory to justify the erection of a new county. On the 6th of January, 1837, an act of the Legislature was signed by Governor Dunklin and became law, creating a new county to be called and known by the name of Livingston County, in honor of Edward Livingston---except that portion in the extreme southeast, east of the line between ranges 21 and 22, which belonged to Chariton.
The Hon. Edward Livingston for whom the county was named, was the eleventh Secretary of State of the United States, serving in Gen. Jackson's cabinet two years, or from May 1831 to May 1833.
The first term of the County Court was held April 6, 1837 at the house
of Joseph Cox, in what was then Medicine Creek Township or about four miles
due north of the present seat of Chillicothe. Mr. Cox's residence had been
designated as the territory seat of justice of the county. There were present
the three county judges, Wm. Martin, Joseph Cox and Reuben McCaskie; the
clerk, Thos. R. Ryan, and the sheriff, Wm. 0. Jennings., all of whom were
commissioned by Gov. Lilburn Boggs, February 4, previously.
LIVINGSTON COUNTY, pp. 694, 695, 696.
[ II ]
The first business done after choosing Judge Martin president of the court, was to divide the county into municipal townships. This was done as to the court by laying off four townships--Shoal Creek, Indian Creek, Medicine Creek and Grand River--whose designated boundaries were as follows: *(The boundaries are given on pages 696 and 697 of HIST. OF LIVINGSTON CO.)
In February, 1839, the county court created new townships and changed the names of four already in existence. Of the new townships, Washington, Morgan.and Marion were entirely, and Jefferson and Franklin were partially in what is now Grundy County. Jefferson included a part of Cream Ridge. The name of Medicine Creek Township was changed to Chillicothe, Shoal Creek was changed to Normal, Sugar Creek to Madison and Indian Creek to Jackson. The new names were all stated to be in honor of great American statesman and warriors.
In May, Monroe Township (formerly called Shoal Creek) was divided by a line running between Sections 30 and 31, in Township 57-25, Idue east of Grand River. The territory north of the line was formed into a municipal township which was called Greene, in "honor of Jineral Green(e) of the Revolution War" says the record.
The first court-house of Livingston County was begun in October, 1837,
and was built in Chillocothe pursuant to the order of the County Court.
WHEELING TOWNSHIP comprises the west half of Township 58, Range 28 and that part of the west half of Township 57 in the same range lying north of the center of track of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad.
Wheeling Township was organized May 6, 1867, on petition of Augustine
Wiley, John Wiley and others out of the territory belonging to Chillicothe
Township. At first it comprised all of Congressional Townships 57 and 58,
in Range 22. A portion of the township lying north of Grand River, but
in March, 1871, the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad became the southern
boundary. The township was named for the town of Wheeling.
pp. 859, 861.
GREENE TOWNSHIP comprises that portion of Congressional Township57, Range 24 lying between Shoal Creek and Grand River (including the West Fork of the latter), and that portion of the east line of Sections in Township 57, Range 25, lying south of the West Fork.
Originally, upon the organization of the county, the entire southwestern part was embraced within what was called Shoal Creek Township, which comprised what are now the townships of Mooresville, Mjonroe and Mound. The first election in Shoal Creek Township was held at John S. Tomblins. In February, 1839, the name of the township was changed to Monroe, in honor of President James Monroe, and in April following it was divided by a line running east and west, commencing on the county line, between Sections 30 and 31 in Township 57, Range 25. The southern portion retained the name Monroe,
[ III ]
GREENE TOWNSHIP (Cont)
the northern was called Greene, "in honor," says the record,
in the handwriting of Wm. E. Pearl, who spelled as he pronounced, "of Jineral
Green of the Revolution War." Nathanael Greene always spelled his name
with a final 'e', so Greene Township should be written.
GRAND RIVER TOWNSHIP is the southwestern township of Livingston County. It comprises all of Congressional Township 56, Range 22, that portion of township 56, Range 21, in the county, and that portion of Township 57, Range 22, within the county and lying south of the center of the track of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad.
When the first settlers came, traces of the old French trading post at the mouth of Locust Creek could still be seen.
Among the early settlers in the township were Rhodie Fewell, John Silvery
and Wm. C. Fewell.
pp. 904, 906.
MEDICINE TOWNSHIP is the northeastern township of Lexington County
and is one of the smallest in that it contains only 30 sections. It comprises
that portion (one-half of Congressional Township 31, Range 22) lying in
this county, and a strip a mile and a half wide off the east side of Township
59, Range 23. The west sections of
59-23 are a mile and a half wide, making the township five miles by six miles in area.
Wm. J. Wallace was the first settler in this township. In the spring of 1837 he built a cabin and enclosed ten acres of land on the northwest quarter of Sec. 7, 59-22.
Medicine Township was organized out of Cream Ridge and Chillicothe Townships. Its first boundaries were the Linn County Line on the east, Grundy County on the north, the line between Townships 58 and 59 on the south, and the crooked Medicine Creek on the west. Subsequently the western boundary was changed to that existing at present (1886).
It was named for Medicine Creek, and that stream, it is said, derived
its name from an incident which it is alleged happened in early days. A
physician,.while swimming thestream lost his "pill bags," which were full
of drugs, and so the settlers called it Medicine Creek. Another version
is that the Indian name for it signified medicine, and it was known by
that title to the early settlers of Chariton County as early as 1820, before
doctors had any occasion to travel through this part of the country. This
seems more possible for an origin of the name, which the records show it
bore as early as the spring of 1837.
--pp. 926, 927, 298.
[ IV ]
CREAM RIDGE TOWNSHIP comprises all that portion of Livingston County lying between Medicine Township and East Grand River, and the line between Congressional Townships 58 and 59, and Grundy County. It includes, therefore, a portion of Ranges 23 and 24.
The first settler in what is now Cream Ridge Township was Francis Preston, who, in February, 1830, located on Crooked Creek, in the southwestern portion of the township (southwest quarter of Sec. 18-99-23) about eight miles north of Chillicothe.
Cream Ridge Township was organized as a municipal township May13, 1837.
The territory was taken off the northeast corner of Chillicothe Township.
The original township comprised all of Township 59, Range 23, and that
part of Township 59, Range 22, lying in this county. In other words the
western boundary was the line between Ranges 23 and 24; the eastern was
the Linn County Line; the southern, the line between Townships 58 and 59,
and the northern was Gentry County line. Subsequently changes were made
in these boundaries until they are as heretofore stated.
pp. 937, 939.
MOORESVILLE TOWNSHIP comprises that portion of Congressional Township NO. 57, Range 25, lying south of Grand River, except in the east line of the sections and fractional parts of Section 31 and 32, Iin the township 58-25.
Mooresville Township was created as a distinct municipal organization
of the county, December 18, 1866. It was formed out of Greene and Monroe
Townships, with its metes and bounds as at present. It was named for the
town of Mooresville.
MONROE TOWNSHIP comprises all of Congressional Township 56, Range 25, except a part of Section 24, and lies ih the southwest corner of the county.
Monroe Township was one of the first settled in the county. On the night of the 12th of November, 1833, memorable as the date of the great meteor shower, or as "the time when the stars fell," John Austin, James Austin, Abraham Bland and others camped on Shoal Creek and afterward entered land in the township.
Upon the organization of the county and the first meeting of the county
court in February, 1837, the territory now included in Blue Mound, Greene,
Mooresville and Monroe Townships, was called Shoal Creek Township, but
in February, 1839, the name was changed to Monroe "in honor of James Monroe."
In May following, the township was divided, and the northern part called
Greene. In 1833 Blue Mound was organized and the creation of those townships
cut down Monroe to about its present size.
pp. 984, 985.
[ V ]
JACKSON AND SAMPSEL TOWNSHIPS The general history of Jackson and Sampsel Townships up to the year 1874, when the latter was created, is so closely connected generally, so blended in fact, that it is extremely difficult of separation, and properly belongs in one chapter. It will, therefore, be treated as the history of one township, Jackson, up to the date mentioned.
Formerly, and at first, the township was called Indian Creek, and bore this name until 1839, when it was named in honor of the renowned hero of the Hermitage. Its original territory comprised all the land lying in this county between the Forks of Grand River, which was its area until Sampsel was formed.
The first settlements in this township were made as early as in 1833, in which Levi Goben came with two or three others.
Log cabins and small clearings were soon made throughout the county, and in 1836 Jesse Nave had established a little store at Spring Hill, then called Navestown, which bore the name for years.
Although settlements were made in what is now Sampsel Township as early
as 1834 and 1835, the land was not declared subject to entry, or at least
no entries were made until 1846. The reason for this was the fact that
the United States surveyor, a Mr. Henderson, who had laid off the township
(58-25) died before making his returns, and his papers were lost. The Congressional
Township was known as the "lost township" from this circumstance.
pp. 990, 993, 994.
The township of Samsel was organized out of Jackson, July 22, 19 1874.
It embraced what had been the southwest portion of Jackson, or township
58-25, and the north corner of 57-25, and this is its present area. It
was narr1ed for the town of Sampsel.
CHILLICOTHE TOWNSHIP is very irregular in form, comprising portions of four Congressional Townships in two ranges, and in shape is something like the letter 'L'. It is comprised of the parts of Township 571 Range 23 and Township 57 Range 24, which lie north of Grand River, and that part of Township 58, Range 24, lying east of East Fork of Grand River. The latter streams or Grand River proper, forms its western and southern boundary.
Joseph Cox was the first~settler in what is now Chillicothe Township on Section 12-58-24. As noted elsewhere, it was at his house where the first courts were held in the county. Brannock Wilkerson put up a horse-mill, which Mr. Boyd's Atlas sketch says was the first in the county, but this is a mistake--Samuel E. Todd's was the first horse-mill, antedating Wilkerson's by a year or two.
Chillicothe Township was originally called Medicine Creek, and bore
this title until in February, 1839. When first organized and for many years,
it comprised all the territory within the present boundaries lying east
of Grand River, above the mouth of Parson' s Creek. Cream Ridge, Wheeling,
Medicine and Rich Hill Townships have all been formed out of the territory
which originally comprised Chillicothe.
pp. 1042, 1043, 1045.
[ VI ]
RICH HILL TOWNSHIP is the only municipal township in the county composed of a perfect and single entire Congressional Township. It is composed exclusively and solely of Township 58, Range 23.
This township was organized out of Chillicothe Township Novembr 30, 1872, on petition of John M. Grant and others. It was first called "Grant" Township for Mr. Grant, but five days later the name was changed to Rich Hill because of the number of alleged rich and fertile hill lands in the county.
The first land entries in Rich Hill Township were made in October, 1839.
Among the first settlers were Eli D. Murphy, IChas. Ashley, Sol Hooker
and Eli Hobbs.
pp. 1174, 1175.
BLUE MOUND TOWNSHIP comprises all of Congressional Township 56, Range 24, that portion of Township 57, Range 24, lying south of Shoal Creek, and a tract of about 600 acres lying in the angle between Clear Creek and Shoal Creek.
Settlements were made in this township as early as 1835. Among the early settlers were Jacob Stauffer, Henry Walker, Wm. McCarty, Alfred Reeves and Josiah Whitney.
Josiah Whitney was a Yankee and the well known operator of the mill which bore his name.
The township was first organized and called Blue Mound in August, 1843--but
by the creation of Fairview and changes in other townships it has been
reduced to the limit heretofore described. It took its name from the great
elevated plateau or mound, which at a distance outlined against the heavens,
resembles a mammoth pile of cerulean.
pp. 1187, 1188, 1189.
FAIRVIEW TOWNSHIP comprises that portion of Range 23 lying in Livingston County, south of Grand River, which includes all of Township 56, and part of the south half of Township 57. Grand River is its northern boundary, the Carroll County Line its southern, the Grand River Township line its eastern and the Blue Mound line its western.
Fairview Township was settled at a very early day. Some of the early settlers were: Nathan Parsons, David Parsons, James W. Cole and R. H. Jordan.
FairviewTownship was organized March 4, 1867. It was created out of
Blue Mound and Grand River, and its original boundaries are the same as
pp. 1220, 1221, 1222.
* Page numbers refer to HIST. OF LIVINGSTON COUNTY, 1886, National Hist. Society, St. Louis.
[ VII ]
The first stores in Livingston County were opened by Jesse Nave at Navestown, or Spring Hill in 1837; by John Doss, in the forks in 1838, and by Stone & Wilson in Chillicothe the same year. In what is now Grundy County, J. L. Lennox had a store at Bluff Grove, now Trenton, in 1838, and John Thrailkill another at some point in that county.
All or nearly all of the first stores kept whiskey for sale as a staple article, along with other "necessaries of life." An establishment exclusively devoted to the sale of whiskey was called a "grocery."
The first mills used by the settlers were what some of them were facetiously
termed "armstrong's miils"--that is to say, a mill worked by a strong
arm. Sometimes this was a mortar and pestle, a funnel-shaped cavity
burned in a stump into which corn was poured and pounded with a pestle
into a meal and hominy, and sometimes it
was a morter and "sweep," save that instead of a rope attached to the spring pole there was another pole, in the end of which an iron wedge was inserted, making a very effective pestle. This was rather easy to work, as it only required exertion to bring it down; the elasticity of the spring pole raised it up.
But power mills soon came into vogue. Joshua Whitney built a mill on
Shoal Creek, where Dawn now stands. Cox's mill on Medicine (afterward Slagle's),
and James Black's horse-mill (afterward Hicklin's), three miles northwest
of Spring Hill, were among the first mills. Sharp's mill on Medicine Creek
in what is now Grundy County, was built as early as 1838. Samuel Todd's
mill on what is Grand River, near Utica, is claimed to have been the first
water-mill in the county. Between Todd and Brannock Wilkerson lies the
distinction of erecting the first horse-mill.
LIVINGSTON Co., p. 706
Springfield-Greene County Library