Mt. Pleasant Township, Whiteside Co., 1885
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Mt. Pleasant Township 1885
Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside Co. 1885


Mount Pleasant Township, during the days of the county Commissioners' rule, formed a part of Union Grove Princinct, which was among the first of the precints to be settled. The territory of which it is now composed is bounded on the north by Ustick, and on the east by Hopkins, on the south by Lyndon, and on the west by Union Grove Township. It is numbered 21 north, range 5 east, and is a full congressional township.

The credit of the first settlement is given to Felix FENCH, James J. THOMAS, J. D. PASHCAL, Wm. H. PASHCAL and George O. JAMES, who came in the spring of 1835. Felix FRENCH located on section 19; W. H. PASHCAL on section 17; J. D. PASHCAL and George O. JAMES, who came in the spring of 1835. Felix FRENCH located on section 19; W. H. PASHCAL on section 17; J. D. PASHCAL on section 16; James J. THOMAS on section 16, and George O. JAMES on section 7. George W. THOMAS came in a little later, and made a claim on section 9, and one for his brother, W. C., on section 8. John W. STAKES, with Joshua T. ATKINSON, made the first claims in Union Grove Pricinct, on both sides of Rock Creek, in 1835. They made a division of their property in 1836, Mr. ATKINSON taking the west side of the creek and STAKES the east side, which is now embraced by Mr. Pleasant Township. He should be regarded as a settler in this township. During the summer of 1836 he broke up the ground and planted a crop where Morrison now stands.

These pioneers, with their families, and the Indians, made up the settlement of this territory for 1835.

The PASHCALS were born in North Caroline - W. H. in 1804, and J. D. in 1805. James J. THOMAS was born St. Clair Co., Ill., in 1801, and George W. in 1820; George O. JAMES was born in South Carolina in 1806. The PASHCAL served inthe Indian War of 1831-2; so also did James J. THOMAS. The PASHCALS came from Morgan Co., Ill. They built a log cabin, which was used as common property by all the settlers that season and the following winter. In the spring a corn crop was planted, which was the first in the township. Other cabins were soon built, and the settlers began to feel more comfortably "fixed." Jonathan HAINES, Horace HEATON, Samuel LANE and John B. DODGE came in this year. HEATON and LANE located on section 4, and DODGE on section 6.

Jonathan HAINES put up a saw-mill on Rock Creek, about a mile and half above Uninville. He had only cut a few feet of lumber when a freshet came and took his mill down stream. It was hauled back and set up again, but ot in time to cut any lumber that season. In the spring of 1837 it ws agin started, and with better success. During this season two stones wer put in for grinding corn and wheat. This mill site was in what was afterward called Jacobstown. Mr. HAINES became quite a prominent and useful citizen, doing much toward advancing the township. He afterward moved to Pekin, Ill., where he died, Feb. 22, 1868. William H. PASHCAL accumulated considerable property, and was a much respected citizen. He dcied on his farm home, March 12, 1875. He was a son-in-law of Anthony M. THOMAS. J. D. PASHCAL died during the winter of 1885. J. B. DODGE died at his farm in January, 1843.

In 1837 the settlement was increased by the arrival of Pardon DODGE, Anthony M. THOMAS and family, and James KNOX, Sr., and family. These were soon followed by many of hteir friends, and others who had heard and read of the glowing accounts of this fair country.

From this time on the township increased in population rapidly. Mr. JACKSON made his purchase on section 17, where a part of the city of Morrison is now located. He reared a large and respectable family of children, most of whom are still living. He dided June 10, 1879. The first wedding in the territory now embraced by Mr. Pleasant Township, was, according to Mr. D. B. YOUNG'S recollections, between Horace HEATON and Sally CHAMBERLAIN, in 1838. Miss CHAMBERLAIN came out with Mr. YOUNG's family. Mr. HEATON died Sept. 16, 1867. Mary Ann, daughter of John W. STAKES, was the first child born here, which event occurred Oct. 15, 1855. The first death occurred in 1837, and was that of James HEATON, son of William HEATON, Sr. Oliver HALL was the first teacher to instruct the youths of this primitive settlement in book-learning. His school was opened in 1838, in a rudely constructed log house, on William H. PASHCAL'S claim. He was a native of Massachusettes. For his services he received $10 per month, which was raised by subscription, and he was also boarded by the settlers. The first School Board elected was on Jan. 1, 1846. A. M. THOMAS, William KNOX, A. C. JACKSON and Jonathan HAINES, were the Trustees chosen. A. P. YOUNG was the first teacher apponted by a board of school trustees. He taught in District No. 1.

In 1836, a Methodist class was formed, consisting of James J. THOMAS and wife, and George O. JAMES and wife. Meetings were held in Mr. THOMAS' cabin. This was the nucleus from which the present Methodist Church of Morrison was formed. This class was formed by Rev. James McKEAN. He was a circuit "rider," belonging to the Rock River Conference.

The pioneers in those early days had a pretty hard time to secure supplies for their winter wants. About this locality, the Indians had killed or driven off nearly all the wild game. They had to depend on Chicago, Galena and the Mississippi landings for supplies, and as markets for their products. The distance to Chicago was long, and the roads bad. They could not afford to put up at the tavers, so they took food along for themselves and feed for their teams. They would leave feed along the road on they, in order to lighten their load, for use on their return trip. It would often take them ten and twelve days to make a trip. If they got back home with a few supplies in exchange for their hard-earned producs, they thought themselves lucky, and were satisfied. The lands were not then surveyed; and it was not until January, 1843, thay they came into market. They were held thenat $1.25 per acre. While the pioneers had awaited with no little expectancy this order of the Government, yet it was received by most of them with trepidation, and by some with consternation. The question was, as tohow they were going to meet the first paymetns, as they weere all poor. They had some grain and a few head of stock, but no money. They must make their payments or lose their claims. Many sold everything they had at a great sacrifice to do this. It was during this period that claims were jumped. But htis proceeding was very hazardous to the jumper, as the farmers generally would stand by each other.

Mr. Pleasant was organised under the township system, April 6, 1856. The meeting for this purpose was held at Mt. Pleasant school-house. Ward P. LEWIS was chosen Moderator, and John W. STAKES, Clerk, pro tem. After these officers were sworn inby a Justice of the Peace, who was acting, the polls were declared to be open. The meeting resulted inthe election of Aaron C. JACKSON for Supervisor; Ward P. LEWIS, Clerk; Alfred HAINES, Assessor; Cyrus P. EMERY, Collector; John JAMES, Overseer of the Poor; William H. PASCHAL (sic) R. K. HIDDLESON and Horace HINTON, Commissioners of the highway; G. H. DEMICK, R. K. HIDDLESON, Justices of the Peace and Cyrus P. EMERY, and A. C. PRATT, Constables.

The surface of the land in this township is quite varied, some parts of it prairie, some undulating, some rolling, and some, partiuclarly the western part, bluffy, or broken. Its topograhy is, indeed, very attractive. It is watered by Rock Creek, and smaller streams, on the borders of whih are fine groves of timber. The soil is mostly a clay loam, which is very fertile. considerable attention is being paid to the raising of stock, and in thise department the township ranks third. The farms are well cultivated, and many of them are adorned with beautiful dwelings. The farm buildings throughout the township are above the average, and the roads good.

In 1855, the Chicago & Northwestern completed its track through the township, which gives to the people ample means of transportation. It eners the township on section 28, and, running west by north, passes out on section 18.

The principal trading place for the people is Morrison, which has grown up since the completion of the railroad.

Before this town started the trading was done at Unionville, which was the princpal town, not only for this, but Union Grove Township. There was also another hamlet where the people were wont to trade and get their smithing done, called Jacobstown. There were a mill, a supply sote, and some shops there. This only exists now in the memory of the old settler. There is, also, a station on the Chicago & Northwestern, called Round Grove. At this place there is a postoffice. The farmers mostly, have adopted the creamery system, and send their cream to those places where it is converted into butter.

According to the census report of 1880, the population of Mt. Pleasant, including the city of Morrison, was 3,048. It is estimated that the population has increased 500 since thattime. The County Superintendent in his annuyal report ending June 30, 1884, makes the folloiwng report regarding school statistics: Value of school property, $39,900. In the nine school distrints there are eight frame and one brick building. Of persons under 21 years of age, there were 1,227, of whom 880 were of scholastic age, and 758 enrolled. The highest wages paid teachers was $130 per month, and the lowest, $25.

Below are the names of the citizens who have represented the township as Supervisors since its organization:
Aaron C. JACKSON 1852-56
Ward S. LEWIS 1857
H. P. ROBERTS 1858
S. H. McCREA 1859-63
Henry R. SAMPSON 1864-69
Cyrus REYNOLDS 1870
Addison FARRINGTON 1871-73
D. S. SPOFFORD 1875-78
A. C. McALLISTER 1879-80
Oscar WOODS 1881-85


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