South Palmyra Township History, Macoupin County Illinois
©1997 Mary Ann Stewart Kaylor


South Palmyra Township History, Macoupin County IL


SOUTH PALMYRA TOWNSHIP from 1879 History of Macoupin County, Illinois extracted by Mary Ann Stewart Kaylor

Located T11N-R8W:

The first settlers in the township were SETH HODGES and JOHN LOVE. HODGES came from Tennessee, and settled in this townhsip, near the south line, on a stream, now called HODGES' creek, deriving its name from that family.

JOHN LOVE and family settled near Mr. HODGES'.
LEVI DAY and family came about 1824; he erected a small cabin, and improved a piece of ground.
GEORGE MATHEWS and family arrived about 1827; he was from near the banks of the Cumberland river, in Tennessee.

About 1823 DAVID T. TAYLOR, with his family, removed from Tennessee, and settled on the creek above HODGES'; he afterward moved near the present town of Palmyra; he was one of the first constables in this part of the country.

FELIX HOOVER settled on the place where JOHN RICHARDSON lives, about 1829.
WILLIAM HODGES (a relative of SETH HODGES), a local preacher, came in the year 1829.
Rev. JOHN HOWERTON, a member of the Baptist Denomination, arrived about 1830; he was a native of Tennessee.
JAMES CAVE came here about the same year.
ISAAC MASSEY and his family, also from Tennessee, about 1829.

EZEKIEL ROSS and family came from near the Cross-roads in Tennessee, about 1833. His brother, ROBERT ROSS and family, settled first in North Palmyra about 1829; after living there a few years he moved to South Palmyra, and settled on section 8.

Judge SAMUEL LAIR moved from Carlinville township, where he had settled at an early day, and arrived here about the year 1833; he raised a large family; his education was limited, but he was a man who possessed a large share of common sense; he had been a member of the County Court, and died January 16, 1870.

ELIJAH WILLS and family were from Kentucky; he first settled in North Palmyra at an early date, but moved to South Palmyra, on section 6, about 1832.
ANDREW RUSSELL came very early, and settled near the present town of Palmyra.

JOHN G. CHILES, father of T. W. CHILES, was a native of Virginia; he removed to this township in 1833, and located on a farm on section 3.

Another well known settler was OAKES SHAW, a native of Cummington, Mass.; he became a resident of this township in 1836, and located in what was then Newburg; soon after, the name of the village was changed to Cummington; he built the first frame house in the town of Cummington; he removed from the county in 1848 and died at Lincoln, Illinois in 1856.

It is quite possible that FELIX HOOVER raised the first wheat about 1830, as he broke the first prairie land in the township.

W. B. and JAMES GARDINER, brothers, from Kentucky, came here in 1836; they both had families, and settled near the old town of Cummington where they continued to reside unti their deaths; James was quite noted in those early days as an auctioneer and W. B. was a man of jocular disposition. HENRY and JAMES SOLOMON were early settlers, and became residents of the township about 1834. JOS. B. STEIDLEY, also an early settler, bought out the improvements of JAMES SOLOMON in 1836.

The first land entries were made by SETH HODGES on the E.S.W. quarter section 28, December 23rd, 1823; he lived in the township some years before as a squatter. The next entry was made by FELIX HOOVER, April 10th, 1829, on the N.N.E. of section 3.

Among the old residents of Macoupin county now living in the township of South Palmyra, we find D. N. SOLOMON, a Kentuckian by birth, who came in 1827 to North Palmyra, and subsequently moved to this township.

W. G. ROSS, now living on section 18, came in 1829; he is a native of Tennessee. BAXTER M. SKEEN, from that state, came in 1832 and lives on section 20. B. F. BIVIN arrived in this county in 1834, and lives on section 1. HENRY ETTER, a native of Tennessee, came in 1836.

JAMES S. DUNCAN, is a native of Macoupin county; he lives on section 23, and is the coroner of the county. M. C. TONGATE resides on section 4; he came here in 1837; he is a Kentuckian by birth.

ACHILLES TONGATE, a retired farmer, lives on section 4; he is a native of Amherst county, Virginia, and came here in 1837; he has reached the advance age of ninety-two years, and is hale and hearty. C. P. TONGATE is a farmer, on section 9; he is a native of Kentucky, and came in 1837. The late JESSE SIMPSON came with his family from Sangamon county about 1838.

The first school house was built of logs, in the southern part of the township, and the first school was taught by JAMES HOWARD, about 1831.

The first church was erected one mile south of the present town of Palmyra. It was built of hewed logs, and covered with split boards. The first regular preacher was JOHN HOWERTON, of the Baptist faith.

The first child born in the townhsip was in Mr. Love's family in 1824.

The first marriage was that of THEODORUS DAVIS and JANE BURLESON in August, 1828.

The first mill was built by ANDREW RUSSELL. It was a very simple arrangement, consisting of two burrs with a vertical shaft attached to the burrs and a crank at the top which was turned by hand. During the severe winter of 1829 and '30 the settlers gathered around this little mill with their corn and waited for their turn to grind. The next mill was erected near the present town of Palmyra, by JAMES CAVE, in 1835; it was run by horses or oxen, and was called the sweep mill. It certainly was a great improvement over the hand mill.

The game consisted of deer, turkey, and occasionally a bear was seen. The turkey was often seen in the poultry yards of the settler. They were killed in great numbers and afforded excellent food.

A small band of Indians, belonging to the Pottawattamie tribe, continued to live in the township for a short time after the settlement of the whites. They were peaceable and quiet, giving the settler no trouble, except they claimed a small tract of land and objected to white people settling on it.

The settlers were very social. It was not uncommon for them to visit their neighbors who lived twenty or thirty miles distant, and spend from one to three days with them, having a general good time. They did not manifest much disposition to make money, and never envied a neighbor on account of his succes in any honest undertaking.

The land of South Palmyra is drained on the west side by SOLOMONS' creek; through the middle by MASSEY creek (sometimes known as NASSA creek), running almost in a south-west direction; and from the south-east by OTTER creek, running almost in the same direction as MASSEY creek. The creek derived its name from ISAAC MASSEY, an early settler of the township. The land along the banks of the creeks is quite rolling, and in someplaces very broken. There is a heavy growth of timber near the banks, and in some cases it extends out a mile in width. The prairie portion of the township is fine, and under a high state of cultivation. The oldest cultivated farms are near the creeks, and were once covered with timber.

There is quite an extensive rock-quarry on the farm of C. P. TONGATE. Limestone-rock and good stone for building purposes are found in different parts of the township.


South Palmyra Township

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