Welcome to Tampico, Illinois
Whiteside Co Townships > Coloma Township

Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Origianally published 1885
Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL
Reproduced on CD and purchased from OLD GLORY ACCENTS

Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society

Pages: 844-45


All that part of Congressional township 21 north, range 7 east, lying south of Rock River, comprises the township of Coloma. The surface of the township is somewhat broken, and the soil is generally a sandy loam. Edward Atkins and Isaac Merrill were the first settlers, locating here early in 1837. Noah Merrill and Daniel Brooks came the same year. Soon after came Samuel B., Frank and John J. Cushing, W. W. Durrant, A. B. Wheeler, Ira Sillaman, Zerah M. Chapman, Herman  Emmons, L. H. Woodworth, Artemus W. Worthington, Daniel F. Batcheller and Asa F. R. Emmons.

Edward Atkins was a native of Ireland, but came to this county from Canada. He was one of the proprietors of Rapids City. It is said that in Canada he went by the name of Watson, was there married and had a family of seven children. Leaving, his family there he came here, married again and by the second wife had seven more children. While he was in California the second wife obtained a divorce. Returning, he went to Canada, was reconciled to his first wife, re-married, and lived with her till her death. In the meantime his second wife secured a divorce from the man she married, and Mr. Atkins sought her out, and they were again married. After remaining here for a time the family removed to McDonough County.

Noah Merrill was a native of Connecticut. He located near the present village of Rock Falls, opposite Eagle Island. The land had been claimed by Elijah Worthington, and Mr. Merrill was ordered off by the Anti-Claim-Jumping Association, but declined to go. He afterwards sold his claim, went to California in 1850, returned and located at Sterling.

Daniel Brooks was a native of Ohio. He was elected Justice of the Peace in Rapids Precinct at an early day. In 1849 he sold out, went to California, and died in San Francisco, of Asiatic cholera, after a few hours' illness.

L. H. Woodworth was born in Vermont. He was a well educated man, and was for a time a teacher in the military school at Perth Amboy, N. J., and afterwards Assistant Professor of Mathematics in Mississippi. In 1839 he located in this township. He held the office of County Surveyor from 1863 to 1865, was a member of the Board of Supervisors for a time, and wa also Swamp Land Commissioner.

Asa F. R. Emmons is a native of Canada. In 1839 he settled at Sterling, and in 1840 removed to this township, where he yet resides.

Ira Sillaman located in this township in 1838. He was a antive of Pennsylvania, and was generally esteemed by all who knew him. He has been dead many years.

A. W. Worthington was a native of Connecticut, and located here in 1840. He held several township offices, and died many years ago, from the effects of the bite of a rattlesnake. It is said that he had lost a number of cattle from the bites of the reptiles, and remarked that he would rather have been bitten himself, as he could be cured, while the cattle could not. He was bitten but, unfortunately, not cured.

D. F. Batcheller located here in 1840. A sketch of his son may be found on page 400.

The Cushings were from Rhode Island. Samuel B. died in Providence, R. I., in 1873. John J. removed to California.

Nelson B., son of Noah and Amanda Merrill, was born Nov. 6, 1838, and is supposed to have been the first white child born in the township.

William Hawkins and Lema Brooks were united in marriage in 1839, the first in the township.

The first death was that of Mrs. W. W. Durrant, in October, 1839.

The first school was taught in an old store building in Rqapids City, in 1845, by Miss Anastatia Sturtevant. The next year an old granary was bought of L. H. Woodworth, for $20, which was fitted up for school purposes. It was moved to the site of the present shcool building in the east district, and the first term of school held therein was by Miss McLaughlin. The schools of the township now are first-class.

Coloma was originally a part of Portland Precinct, and subsequently part of Rapids Precinct. It was organized as a township in 1852, the first town meeting being held at the house of Richard Arey, April 6. As a township it has "gone on the even tenor of its way" to the present time, the only real difficulty which it has had being in relation to the bonds issued in aid of the Rock River Railroad. The township of Sterliing  had been asked to assist in securing the road, but refused, and therefore Coloma was required to burden itself with a large debt, it voting $50,000 to the work. In 1873 it was charged that the bonds had been issued illegally, and their validity was contested. Bennett & Sackett were employed as counsel, and after expending nearly $1,200 the suit was abandoned, and on the 11th of September, 1876, at a special town meeting, it was voted to issue $25,000 worth of bonds to pay interest on the railroad bonds, together with costs.

From the abstract of assessments it islearned that there are 5,986 acres of improved land, valued at $135,588. The town lots are assessed at $139,782, and personal property at $78,989, - a total of $356,435. There were subject to taxation 398 horses; 21 mules and asses; 796 cattle; 492 hogs; 6 steam engines; 189 carriages and wagons; 5 watches and clocks; 85 sewing and knitting machines; 16 pianos; 58 organs and melodeons.


The following named have served the township as members of the Board of Supervisor:

Richard Arey  - 1852
L. H. Woodworth - 1853
A. W. Worthington - 1854
Sidney Barber - 1855-1857
Frank Cushing - 1858-59
L. L. Emmons - 1860-67
Jas. A. Patterson - 1868
L. L. Emmons - 1869-70
M. R. Adams - 1871-73
H. F. Batcheller - 1874-85



TAMPICO AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY - MUSEUM - FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY/RESEARCH CENTER  119 Main St., P. O. Box 154,  Tampico, IL  61283   www.tampicohistoricalsociety.com   tampicohistoricalsociety@gmail.com  President Joan Johnson, 815-438-7581 or garyjoan@thewisp.net  Family History Coordinator, Denise McLoughlin 815-718-3617. We are an all-volunteer organization so your donations are always appreciated!  Sign up to receive our e-newsletter. Thank you!  Visit us on FACEBOOK, too.