History - Settlers

The early settlers who did not come direct from Virginia or the Carolinas, came from Kentucky and Tennessee. Emigrated from some of the colonies, lived awhile in the latter states and pressed on farther west.
Virginia was, for many years in the seventeenth century, the refuge of those who were in turn prominent, impoverished, endangered, or exiled in the civil wars of Cromwell's time. According as Puritan or Cavalier triumphed at home, so changed the complexion of the emigration of the old Dominion. The Carolinas were peopled by the Cavaliers, who expected to find sudden wealth in the new country, to set up the customs of the court and propagate the gay and chivalrous blood of the Knight. Between these and the French Huguenots who sought to find here religious liberty, there could but be sharp lines of social distinction. Those who came for adventure and gain were soon undeceived; those who sought freedom were made to feel the heavy hand of law and unjust taxes.
Then came the great leveler war. From the descendants of this people who were tried, tested, melted and remolded in the fires of the struggle for independence, came the purified Anglo Saxon; that sturdy pioneer to whom civilization owes an undischargeable debt. Of this stock were our ancestors and thus began our early settlements. A few families at a time, occasionally a New Yorker, a New Englander or a Canadian, would sift into this steady stream of searchers for a new home. All the colors blended make "Lablanc," what else could follow but that Pilgrim. Cavalier, Huguenot and Yankee blended should make the most perfect type of citizen.
A great many of our pioneers had lost their possessions in the Revolution and sought to rebuild their fortunes on new soil. Some of them brought slaves, old silver, pewter plate, native shrubs and flowers but each brought the characteristics peculiar to their section of the country. The hospitable, easy-going, genial traits of the southerner have prevailed in this county,
Fordham, an early historian of our state, divides the inhabitants of Southern Illinois into four classes, as follows: "First Hunters; second, first settlers; third, doctors, lawyers, store-keepers, furriers, mechanics, those who trade and speculate in land, who found towns, those who put too much reliance in physical prowess; fourth, old settlers, rich, independent, well informed. Johnson County must have had some residents belonging to some of these classes but whether she could aspire to having any in the fourth class or not, one could not undertake to say.
The first settler in the original Johnson County, that we have a real knowledge of, was Daniel Flannery, who came to this section of the country in 1777 and took up a claim twenty-five or thirty miles above the mouth of the Ohio River and on or near the Mississippi. "Flannerys and McElmunnys erected a station or block-house in Alexander County about 1783 in township sixteen opposite island number twenty-two in the Mississippi River. These settlers left the country and none of them were here in 1800." — Reynolds. He also says, "The Indians seemed to be especially hostile toward the American settlers from 1783 to 1789; but they did not molest the French." "It was the policy of the French, to conciliate the natives, whom they invariably treated with kindness and consideration never shown to that unhappy race by other Europeans with whom they preserved a faith unbroken on either side." — Ford.
Reynolds states that James Flannery was killed by the Indians in 1783, which would explain the Flannerys leaving the country for a time. They later returned, at least, Daniel Flannery did, and established his claim as a settler before the land office commission in 1809 at Kaskaskia. Issac and Jacob Flannery entered land in Randolph County in 1811, most likely in the same locality where Daniel lived. The name of Flannery continues to appear on our court records as late as 1841. Other given names of this family were Samuel, Elijah, Jacob, Abram and Thomas. Reynolds says, "There was not a settler on the trace from Hull's landing, on the Ohio River to Kaskaskia in 1800." Boggs states there were 650 settlers along the Ohio River in 1801, from the census taken by Congress. Many of these families, no doubt, settled in the original bounds of this county, and while our present territory did not lie directly on the river some reckless adventurer, no doubt, found good game farther in the interior, set his stakes and built his little cabin in the present limits of Johnson County.
John and Joseph Worley are given as residents of Illinois in 1785. Joseph Worley is given as an American resident of Cahokia in 1789, and James Finny's name also appears as an American citizen of Illinois in 1780. This was taken from the Cahokia records. That these are the men whose names appear on Johnson County's early records, there can be little if any doubt.
The Ray family settled in the northeast part of the county in 1803 in the vicinity of Stonefort, but they are not further indentified with our history through records.
William Lawrence lived somewhere in the county originally set off in 1812 and called Johnson, but just where or how early has not been revealed. He was licensed to keep tavern," where he now lives in 1813." A road was ordered built by his house in 1814. He paid taxes on a still in 1816 and lived on Cache. Old receipts in his estate papers show he paid bills in Mulenberg, Kentucky, which would indicate he came from that state. Another old paper of his would lead one to believe he may have lived here as early as 1803. (See old Papers.)
Samuel Worthington was another pioneer of that time and connected with the Lawrences by marriage. There are some decendants of Worthingtons living in Pulaski County, but it is not known if they are of this family.
The next resident is William Simpson, who lived in Johnson County proper. While it is certain there were settlers here before him, there is no record of them. Tradition says he came here in 1805 from Kentucky by way of Shawneetown, making his own road part of the way. His name appears on the Randolph County records as early as 1808, and he must have lived here some time before as he brought suit against Hampton Pankey for $300 damage in the above year. He settled near what is known as Double Bridges in Simpson Township, built a double log house and opened as far as is known the first tavern in the county. There is a school house and cemetery located at the present time where his original house and farm building stood. It is about two miles north of Simpson and three from the county line of Pope.
James Finney was a resident of Randolph, tradition says coming from Virginia, in 1806, as he was appointed judge of the court of Common Pleas for that county that year. If his residence was in this section of the county at that time he was also an early settler, since it is certain that he lived in the present limits of Johnson County later. He would have had to live here at least a short time before his appointment. The fact that Reynolds does not speak of him as a first resident of Kaskaskia would make it plausible that he lived in this section.
James Bain moved here from Kentucky in 1807, or the early part of the following year, as there is a record of a child of Mr. Bain's being born here in 1808. He settled what is known as the Vickers Farm, now owned by Levi J. Smith. The house stood about one half mile north of the present limits of Vienna. Mrs. Eliza Dwyer who came to this county from Ohio in 1857 and is now ninety-four years old says she knew Mr. and Mrs. James Bain quite well, and they were very old when she made their acquaintance. They told her they lived here a long time before they had any neighbors, but the Indians, who occupied the hills south of town where the farms of John B. Jackson, Joshua Arnold, and Ed. Harvick are now located. Mrs. Dwyer also says evidence such as arrow heads, stone implements, and graves, of the Indians having lived here were still found after she came to Vienna.
The second settler who came to Vienna neighborhood was Mathew Mathis, who opened the Loeney Farm. It is quite plain he lived in the neighborhood as he and his son carried the chain when the town of Vienna was laid off, although his land was not entered until 1832. The next neighbor that can be traced directly is Francis Jordan who entered his land December 1814, the first land entered at Shawneetown land office, that lays in this county proper. This is known as the Oliver Farm, about two miles west of Vienna, just off the West Vienna road and is now owned by J. C. Chapman and G. B. Gillespie. John Oliver another first settler occupied part of this farm. Henry Beggs was another early neighbor in this county. He entered the Ausbrooks farm just north west of Vienna, now owned by F. R. Johnston, 1831. Land entries, tradition from Steward Sutliff, grand son of James Bain; and the statements of Mrs. Dwyer are the authority for these early settlers.
Peter Clark, Thos. C. Paterson and Henry Sams lived on the west side of the county in 1816. George Evans settled here as early as 1806.
Isaac Wilcox was another very early resident here. His name appears on the Randolph County records in 1802. He was a merchant or trader and the court records show he had many cases on the docket.
"A family of Quarkers of North Carolina named Stokes settled several miles east of Jonesboro in 1808." — Reynolds. This was the founding of the Stokes family living in Union County and the western part of our county at the present time.
John Bradshaw and John Phelps lived on the west side of the county at or near Elvira, but it was Randolph when they were appointed Justices of the Peace in 1809.
Jesse Griggs, who was one of the first judges for Johnson County and Nathan Davis whose name also appears on our early court records lived in that part of the county that was cut off to make Jackson, at least, they with James Hall were the Commissioners of that county when Brownsville was established as the county seat.
"Henry Noble and Jesse Griggs settled on Big Muddy 1804."— Reynolds.
Reynolds makes the statement that the families of Chilton, Brazel Lorton, More, Downing, Lemom, Copeland, Lacy Vanhoozer, Rattent, Stublefield, Hewitt, and Jones were attached to the eastern Goshen settlement, which was in Madison County, southeast of Edwardsville. It is not known whether Reynolds considered this section of country in Goshen settlement or whether some of these families settled there and moved here later, but the names of Brazel Copeland, Lacy, Hewitt, Stublefield and Jones are names of early settlers of this section.
Reynolds is also authority for the following: "Whitesides and their numerous connections were from North Carolina, (family tradition says, Virginia.) They first came to Kentucky, then to Illinois in 1793. The patriarch and head of the family was William Whiteside. He erected a fort or blockhouse on the road from Cahokia to Kaskaskia, which became famous as Whiteside's Station. He was prominent as an Indian fighter, had a large family of sons who were also prominent in the warfare against the Indians and in the War of 1812.” The Whitesides of this and Pope Counties are a branch of this pioneer family. The founder in this section settled on Big Bay about 1804 or 1805.
John Elkins who also came from North Carolina in 1809 settled on the west side of the county. He later moved to Arkansas but left four children who have descendants living in this county, especially in the western part.
Hamlet Furguson was a resident of this county in 1810 and was among the first judges holding court here. Hamletsburg, in Pope County, was named in his honor.
William Stiles lived in Center Township in 1813.
Levi Casey settled in Bloomfield Township, 1808. Hezkiah West came to this county from South Carolina between 1808 and 1810, and settled in the southwest part in the section known as West Eden. The locality took its name from him. His descendants are numerous and hosts of them still reside in the county. Jacob Harvick was another pioneer. The year of his coming is not definite but his son was a militia officer here in 1812. William McFatridge was the founder of the large family of that name coming here from North Carolina about 1810. His son John was also the head of a family here very early in the county history. They settled on Mack Creek which was named in their honor. Samuel Westbrooks came to this county in 1812, but moved to Equality in 1826. John and Isaac Worley lived at Elvira 1814, ancestors of the Worley family of this county. William Shelby lived on the east side of the county. William Parker lived near the Ohio River in 1827. William McKee father to Green B. and a large family of that name settled in what is now Simpson Township in 1819. Samuel McGowan entered land here in 1818, now owned by Ernest Cooper near Walter Sharps. The Beggs Wiggs and Gurley families were very early residents on the western side of the county and in Union. Marvin Fuller was a resident of Randolph County in 1810. He is connected with the very earliest courts and no doubt, lived in this section at that date. Elias Harrell, was a settler in 1819, and Joel Thacker settled here about 1820. Green B. Veach, a pioneer, from North Carolina, came here very early. He settled in the eastern section of the county but the date is not known. He served in the Black Hawk War from this county. I. Weaver lived in Center Township in 1813. Some of his descendants live in Pulaski at the present time. The Borin family also lived in that section of Johnson in 1812, coming from Tennessee. John Byers who was appointed to take the census of 1820 lived in the northwest section of Johnson, that made Jackson, in 1812. Thomas Furguson lived on the eastern side of the county near Big Bay in 1812. He operated a ferry in 1814 at Golconda, paying taxes into the county treasury for that year. Vance Lusk and James Whiteside resided on the eastern side of the county in 1816. Their neighborhood later became Pope County.
John Whitiker located in the western section of the county that was made into Union or Alexander when they were organized. He paid taxes on his still in this county in 1816. Joseph McCorcle was a settler of 1818. William Fisher came across the border from Indiana to this county in 1810. John S. Graves was another early settler. John Copeland came in 1815 or 1816. Samuel J. Chapman came from New York state about 1816, settling first in what is now Bloomfield. His father, Daniel, came from the same state two or three years later, settling on a farm, near the present Bloomfield and Simpson Township line. Now occupied by W. P. Emmerson.
Milton Ladd, Ivy Reynolds, Jesse Canady, Alfred and D. Y. Bridges, and many others whose names appear on the court records are fully identified with the first settling of the county. Mrs. Sarah Howerton a pioneer mother of Johnson County deserves mention. She was the daughter of Randolph Casey and was born in this county in 1823. She was married and moved to the Howerton Farm near what is now New Burnside, in 1842, where she spent the remainder of her life, seventy-three years, as wife and mother. The dwelling was a double log house so familiar in the early days of this county. Many Indians passed her home and dangerous wild animals were numerous. Often when her husband was called away from home and she was left alone over night with the little ones she would build a fire outside the house to frighten the wild beasts away. She married at the age of 19 and raised eight children. Although a pioneer of a later day she was a founder just as truly as those coming from other states.

Extracted 01 May 2016 by Norma Hass from 1925 History of Johnson County written by Mrs. P. T. Chapman, pages 146-153.

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