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Whiteside Co Townships > Hahnaman Township

Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside Co. 1885

Hahnaman Township is in the exteme southeastern part of the county. Its boundaries were defined by the County Court in 1852, but the township was not fully organized until 1860. Hahnaman comprises all of township 19, range 7 east of the fourth principal meridan. It is largely made up of wha is known as swamp lands, but they are being drained to a considerable extent. The remainder of the township is rolling prairie, excepting a few sand ridges. The county ditch commences about two miles west of the east line of the township, and from the west line enters Tampico.

The first settlement was made at Deer Grove, in 1841, by Wm. Renner and family, from Pennsylvania. Mr. Renner died in 1859, leaving a widow and eight children. Among the first settlers not mentioned in the biographical protion of the work are the following: Lemeul Scott, from Vermont, was the the next to make here his home, arriving in 1845. He died at the house of Mr. Renner, in 1849.

 In 1854, Mrs. Ryder, a widow lady, and her family arrived in the township. During the following three or four years a number of families came in. Among the arrivals were James Chambers, W.M. Halsted, Benj. Ackley, Martin Clark, Wm. Humphrey, Wm. JOhnson, John J. Van Valkenburg, Wm. Brakey, Geo. Brakey, Wm. McNickel, Thomas Langan, Peter Ford, Amos Reeves and Dr. Reuben Davis.

James Chambers was from Indiana. He located on section 4 where he remained a number of years, and then moved to Kansas. Benj. Ackley was also from Indiana. He located on section 4 and likewise moved to Kansas, some years ago. (see farm ownership atlases in Photo Album-Maps on this website) Martin Clark came from the same State. Chambers, Ackley and Clark were brothers-in-law. Mr. Clark located on section 2. He also moved to Kansas, where he has since died.

William Johnson, from Rutland, Vermont, came in 1855 and located on section 2. He now resides in Rock Falls. William Humphrey was from Ohio. He located on section 18 where he died some years ago. John J. Van Valkenburg was a native of New York. He located on section 18, spending his time either in working his farm or at his trade of carpenter. A few years ago he moved to Valley Center, Kansas, where he now resides. William and George Brakey were from Pennsylvania. They came to this township in 1856. Some years ago they moved West where William has since died. John McNickel was also from Pennsylvania. He located here and died on his homestead some years ago. Peter Ford came from Ireland in 1856, and located on section 12, where he is still living. Thomas Langan was also from Ireland. He located in 1856 on section 24 where he is still living. Isaiah, son of DeWitt and Catherine Ryder, was the first white child born in the township. The first death was that of Mrs. Ryder, in 1855. H.V. Hinman and Jane L. Brakey were united in marriage in 1859 - the first event of the kind in the township. The first school-house was built on section 4, in 1856 and subsequently moved to section 3. This is District No. 1. The house, though a small one, was used for some years, when a larger and more convenient one was erected on section 3, a part of Dr. Reuben Davis' farm. It has since been moved to the original site on section 4. A house was built in District No. 2 in 1856. For the year ending June 30, 1884, the County Superintendent of Public Schools gave the following items pertaining to educatinal matters in the township. There were six school districts and frame school-houses, with 369 persons under 23 years of age, of which number 274 were of school age and 233 enrolled in the public schools. The highest wages paid teachers was $50 and the lowest $25 per month. The tax levy for school purposes was $2,232. The first religious services in the township were probably at the school-houses in Districts No. 1 and No. 2. In 1876 regular services were established by the Methodists at Deer Grove. No church edifices have been built.


In the war for the Union Hahnaman Township did her part nobly, considering its limited resources. Every call was responded to but one, when a draft was ordered for three men, the only one in the county. The township had but few men able to go that could be spared, but every effort was put forth to meet the demands of the General Government. At one time $500 was raised and placed in the hands of a committee to provide men in answer to a call. The committee expended the amount, but with little benefit to the township. The last call made by the President was in December, 1864. Thirteen men were apportioned to this township. Of the number six had been secured, when a meeting was called to devise means for securing the number. The county had offered a bounty of $500, and it was proposed to supplement this amount by $100 more to each volunteer. Nearly every volunteer in the township was present at the meeting, when Dr. Davis and some others agreed to advance the amount, provided those present would agree to vote the amount back to them from the township funds. On the 6th day of February, 1865, this was done.

On the 30th day of September, 1869, a special election was held for the purpose of voting on the question of the township subscribing $10,000 to the capital stock of the Illinois Grand Trunk Railway, now the Clinton & Mendota Branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. The terms on which the township agreed to subscribe for the stock were that one-fifth should be paid in five years and one-fifth annually thereafter until the whole amount was paid, the interest to be at the rate of 10 per cent per annum. The company refused to accept the proposition, demanding that five per cent should be paid down and the balance when sufficient stock was subscribed to grade, bridge and tie that part of the road between Prophetstown and Mendota. Another special election was held June 25 1870, to see if the township would accept the terms of the railroad company. The proposition was defeated, when the railroad company acceded to the proposition of the township. Accordingly, in 1871, the bonds were issued. The entire amount has since been paid.

The township of Hahnaman was named in honor of the founder of the homeopathic school of medicine, the renowned Dr. Hahnemann. A mistake was made by the commissioners in the spelling, but as the name has been made a matter of record as spelled it was permitted to stand. The first election for township officers was held April 3, 1860m at the school-house in District No. 2. The following men were chosen: Wm. M. Halsted, Supervisor; Amos Reeves, Clerk; George S. Brakey, Assessor; Reuben Davis, Collector; George S. Brakey and Reuben Davis, Justices of the Peace.

SUPERVISORS: The supervisors from 1860 to the present time (1885) have been as follows:

1860 - Wm. M. Halsted              1869-72 - Edward Perkinson

1861 - O.H. McNickel*                1873 - John Coulon

1862 - Wm. Johnson                   1874-75 - John McCabe

1863 - M.A. Meyers                    1876-78 - Amos Reeves

1864-65 - Reuben Davis               1879 - Munson Robbins

1866 - Amos Reeves                    1880-85 - Edward Devine 

1867-68 - Reuben Davis

*Mr. McNickel resigned in September and Wm. Johnson was appointed to fill the vacancy.


In 1873, W.H. Wheeler opened a store on the line of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad at Deer Grove and soon after secured the appointment of Postmaster for a new office to be established at this point, to be  known as Deer Grove. Mr. Wheeler continued to the store about two years, when he sold out to Charles L. Dewey.. Several families soon after located here, and a village of about a dozen houses was built up. In 1875 an elevator was erected. For some cause the town has never thrived and today has no more inhabitants that it had ten years ago. There is one store, owned by Martin Coleman, a blacksmith shop, school-house, postoffice and some 12 or 15 homes.

RELATED LINK: HAHNAMAN HISTORY from Tampico Centennial Year Book
                          HAHNAMAN HISTORY - 1877

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