(Shelby County)

(Shelby County)




THIS township derived its name from the cold springs, so noted among the pioneers. It is situated in the south-west part of the county, and contains fifty-four sections. It is bounded on the north by Tower Hill, east by Dry Point, west by Oconee to wnship, and on the south by Fayette County. Beck's creek flows through the entire township on the west side, from north to south. The east side is drained by Mitchell's and Polecat creeks. Section creek is a small stream in the south part of the township. In the north-east and through the centre of the township is found considerable prairie; along the streams the land is heavily timbered. There are many perennial springs, and near these springs the first settlers located, as at that early period water and timber were a desideratum. It was here that the first settlement of Shelby county was made. There were eight families, who came up in the spring of 1818 from St. Clair county: Charles Wakefield, sr., with his wife and three married sons, Simeon, John and Enoch, and his son, Charles, Jr., who was then a single man; Ormsby Vanwrinkle and his family; Lemuel Hawkins and his family; Arthur Crocker and family; the widow Petties and her children.

Charles Wakefield, sr., located his cabin and made a clearing about three-quarters of a mile southwest of the Cold Spring. His son Simeon settled at the Cold Spring, and John and Enoch built their cabins and made improvements a little west, and in near pr oximity to the above spring. Ormsby Vanwrinkle was a son-in-law of the elder Wakefield, and located near by, at what is now known as the Horsman spring. Lemuel Hawkins settled south of Cold Spring, just across the hollow, south of Charles Wakefield's plac e. Arthur Crocker made his improvements on the south side of Mitchell's creek. The widow Petties settled between Crocker's and Cold Spring. These were regular frontiersmen, and when they came the Indiaus were numerous, but if treated well, were friendly t o the settler, and would often provide him with game, and do other acts of kindness.

The next year, 1819, came Thomas Pugh; he was a native of North Carolina, but had lived for a number of years in Kentucky, where he married. After hearing much of the advantages to be gained to the pioneer in the then new state of Illinois, he concluded t o emigrate hither; he therefore sold out most of his possessions, and with his wife and three children, started for his new home, as above stated. For further information of the above families see chapter on pioneers and early settlers.

The pioneers of this township had much trouble in providing meal or flour for family use, as at that early period there was not even a horse-mill in this part of the county; their nearest milling facilities were at Belleville, in St. Clair county; therefo re the settlers had to improvise a mill for their own use, which was usually done by braying the corn in a mortar, made out of a log cut two feet long. They would set the log on end, bore several holes in the top, and burn it out about half-way down; then they would take a small handspike and to it attach an iron wedge at one end, and then the business was begun by pounding up a little corn at a time. A dried deer-skin, with holes punctured in it, stretched on a hickory hoop, was used as a sieve. The fine st meal was used in making bread, and the coarse for hominy; the bread was a little dark, but it was the bread of the pioneer.

First Horse Mill.-Simeon Wakefield erected a horse mill in 1821; this was also the first horse mill in Shelby county, and for several years it was utilized by the settlers for miles around.

First Store.-John O. Prentis (the father of Owen Prentis, who was one of the early merchants of Shelbyville) opened a store at Cold Spring in 1828, in the cabin, which he purchased of Simeon Wakefield, and Wakefield then returned to St. Clair count y. Prentis soon after got a post-office established, which he kept in his store, bearing the name of Cold Spring.

Jonathan C. Corley, a native of the Old Dominion, emigrated to Kentucky about 1808, where he lived until 1823, and then removed to what is now Shelby county. His first stop was in the vicinity of the Cold Spring, where he remained a few months. He arrived at the Cold Spring settlement in the fall of 1823; the following February he made an improvement on Robinson's creek; a few years thereafter improved a place north of Shelbyville, where he resided, until the spring of 1832, when he returned to this towns hip and improved a farm on the Vandalia road, and lived there until his death, which occurred in 1860. Mr. Corley was a blacksmith, and is supposed to have been the first one in the county. He was also for many years a justice of the peace, and performed the marriage ceremony for many of the then young people, who are now among the substantial citizens of the county. Many of the descendants of these old pioneers, are residents of " Old Shelby." He raised a family of thirteen children, and was indeed a pa triarch.

Early Physicians.-The first physician to settle here was Dr. Rooks, who came in the spring of 1830. He was an old style herb doctor, and was quite successful in baffling the then prevalent diseases, chills and fever, if he did gather his herbs afte r dark and in certain signs of the moon, as some of the old settlers relate.

Early Schools.-The first school building erected was in 1821 near the Horseman Spring. It was a neat log building, made of split logs, puncheon floor and benches, with one log left out of the

Page 216

side, which space was filled with greased paper for windows, (see cut on chapter for common schools,) along the side of which a puncheon table was arranged, on which the scholars did their writing. Moses Storey was the first teacher.

John Lee settled on section 31, west of Beck's Creek in 1828; a few years after he sold out to Titus Gragg, who built a water-mill on the spring branch in 1834; it was afterwards changed to a steam-mill; afterwards a carding machine put in. The old mill w as burned down, and subsequently rebuilt by Woolard & Blackwell as a grist and saw mill; it has two run of burrs : it is now operated by H. Miller. Mr. M. is now erecting a new mill, and proposes to utilize the same water power that Gragg did. Philip Gras s erected a house just across the road from the Miller Mill, where he sold goods. He was implicated in the murder of P. Calhoun, an agent of the Ill. Central Railroad Co., who was located here by that company to look after and care for their timber land, and prevent its being stolen. It was some years before the perpetrators were brought to justice. Grass was tried and convicted as an accessory to the murder, and sentenced to the penitentiary for life. Grass's son-in-law, Joseph Meyers, was convicted as o ne of the murders, and was hung at Shelbyville. William Grass, son of Philip, was convicted as an accessory, and sentenced to the penitentiary for twenty years. H. Holder was also convicted for the same offence and sentenced to be hung, but the sentence w as commuted to imprisonment for life. Several other persons supposed to have been implicated in the killing of Calhoun, left the county, thereby escaping a well merited punishment. In Feb. 1833, Orville Robertson located on section 15, on Section creek, o n the John Adams place. Mr. Robertson is now merchandizing in Williamsburg, and is the only merchant of the place. Rev. James Beck, a minister of the gospel, and a devout Christian man, came here in the year 1830, and settled on Section creek, near where J. D. Dobbs now lives. Mr. Beck was one among the pioneer preachers of the county, and was a man loved and revered by the neighbors.

Among the other settlers of Cold Spring may be named John Hamilton, William Whittington, Peter Meyers, David Beck, John Cook, E. Jones, James Simpson, Sr., John Sarver, Sr., John Band, William Frailey, William Mears, Claris Hornbeck, C. Burris, T. L. Sell ers, James Brownlee, William Horsman, Peter Sawyer and Mr. Milligan who settled near Williamsburg, on the Pugh place.


THE first land entry made in Shelby county was in tp. 11-2 on the 19th of July, 1821, by Charles Wakefield, Sr., of eighty acres in Section 13. Thomas Pugh and John Walker each entered eighty acres in Section 14, tp. 10-2, in November, 1822. In tp. 9-2, James Beck entered eighty acres in Section 10 in 1830, and in 1831, Robert B. Peebles entered eighty acres in Section 14, and the same year Peter Meyers entered forty acres in Section 9.

The post-office on Section 17, called Beck's Creek, was established about twenty years age, with S. P. Hadley post-master. The office is now kept a half mile south, in Fayette county.

Early Churches.-The Methodist Church on Section 26, known as the Ridge Camp ground, was one of the early church edifices erected in the township. Camp meeting was held here for many years in the early times. Here frequently officiated the venerable Peter Cartwright, the pioneer of Methodism in Illinois.

Game.-In the early days, the thickly wooded hills and clear running streams of this township attracted the deer in large numbers, as well as the bear, panther, wolves, wild cat, turkey and smaller game, affording excellent sport for the pioneer as also sustenance for himself and family. Robert Pugh says that when he and his father came here, the elk and buffalo horns could be found quite frequently in this locality, and the sign of the black bear for a number of years afterwards could be seen by th e practiced hunter in the woods, where they would turn over the logs in search of bugs and other insects of which they were fond; strange as it may seem a bear could turn over a log, which would take the combined efforts of two strong men. It was no uncom mon thing for the hunter to come upon the carcasses of deer which had been killed and partly eaten by the voracious panther, and with his cat-like sagacity, after he had had his fill, he would cover the remaining carcass with leaves and rubbish; wild cats were numerous, and Mr. Pugh says that he killed twelve one winter. The settlers would frequently suffer much loss from the ravages of wild animals on their stock of hogs and calves. The early pioneers in this locality seldom shot the wild turkey, as they considered the game too small to waste their precious ammunition on, but secured them ofttimes in large numbers in the following manner. They built rail pens with an opening at the bottom, and would throw corn on the ground into and around the pen, and w hen the flock would come, and in feeding on the corn would pass into the enclosure, after the corn was devoured they would find they were imprisoned, and would endeavor to fly out, not being sagacious enough to escape by the way they entered. Ofttimes who le flocks would be captured in this way.

Williamsburg.-This village was laid out at Cold Spring, by Willliam Horsman and Dr. Thomas H. Williams, in the fall of 1839. Dr. Williams also had a store at this place; his death occurred in 1844, and a younger brother, Dr. Ralph C. Williams, took up his practice and continued there for several years, and subsequently moved to Lawrence, Kansas. The village, though not one of the oldest in the county, has a rather ancient and antiquated appearance. It is also beautifully situated. Orville Robertson carries on a general store here, and is postmaster. Dr. Thomas J. Fritts administers to the sick in this locality J. W. Torbutt is the blacksmith of the village, and J. P. Dunaway is a carpenter and builder. The Methodist denomination and the Masonic lod ge have built here a commodious two story building. The lower story is used for church purposes, and the second story as a Masonic hall. The Williamsburg Masonic Lodge, No. 513, was instituted July 26, 1866, with the following charter members -. I B. McNu tt, W. M.; Thomas J. Fritts, S. W.; W. C. McClannahan, J. W.; G. B. Jones, Treas; J. W. Henderson, Sec; A. J. Corley, S. D.; C. Corley, J. D.; J. C. Whittington, Tyler. Present officers : Dr. Thomas J. Fritts, W. M.; E. A. McCracken, S. W.; W. C. McClannahan, J. W.; John M. Frizzelle, Treas.; G. W. Bechtel, Sec. ; John Adams, S. D.; Thomas E. Myers, J. D.; J. F. Dunaway, Tyler.

Since the adoption of township organization the following gentlemen have represented Cold Spring in the board of supervisors: Jas. Brownlee, elected in 1860; W. W. F. Corley, elected in 1861; W. W. F. Corley, elected in 1862; W. H. Tetrick, elected in 186 3 ; J. Brownlee, elected in 1864; G. Kircher, elected in 1865; J. Brownlee, elected in 1866; James Brownlee, elected in 1867, re-elected in 1868, 1869 and 1870; A. T. Smart, elected in 1871, re-elected in 1872 and 1873; J. M. Frizzell, elected in 1874; T. J. Fritts, elected in 1875, re-elected in 1876; __________ Buchman, elected in 1877; H. Kelly, elected in 1878, re-elected in 1879 and 1880, and is the present incumbent.

Page 217



THIS gentleman was born in Owen county, Indiana, August 20th, 1838. His father was Judge W. H. Fritts, and his mother was Susan Wooden, daughter of Col. Robert Wooden, for seventeen years sheriff of Owen County, Indiana.

Dr. Fritts was the oldest son, and second child, of nine children; he was raised chiefly in Owen County, obtaining his early education at the town of Gosport, near which the family lived. At the age of nineteen or twenty, he began the study of medicine at Gosport with his uncle, Dr. J. Wooden.

During the winter of 1858-9 he attended a course of lectures in the medical department of the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor. The next winter he attended lectures at the Rush Medical College in Chicago, from which he graduated in March, 1860. He be gan practice at Bowling Green, Clay County, Indiana. In May, 1861, he enlisted as a noncommissioned officer in Company F, Fourteenth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, infantry. The regiment was a part of the Army of the Potomac. After the battle of Winchester, on the 27th of March, 1862, in which he took part, he was placed on detached service to look after the wounded in the hospitals. He was subsequently promoted to be hospital steward, and acted as such till January 3d, l863. He took part with his regiment in the peninsula campaign under McClellan. At the battle of Antietam, on the 17th of September, 1862, his regiment was cut to pieces and almost annihilated. January 3d, 1863, he was commissioned by Governor O. P. Morton, assistant-surgeon of the Third In diana Cavalry Regiment, and with six companies of the regiment joined the Army of the Cumberland in June, 1863, near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He served subsequently in Kirkpatrick's Cavalry Division, under Sherman, till the close of the war, taking part in the celebrated march from Atlanta to the sea. He was in North Carolina at the time the war closed. When the term of enlistment of the Third Indiana Calvary expired, he was transferred to the Eighth Indiana Cavalry Regiment, with which he remained till he was mustered out of service at Indianapolis, August 8th, 1865, after having been in active service four years, three months and twenty-six days. He attended lectures at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia during the winter of 1865-6, and rece ived a diploma. In May, 1866, he settles at Williamsburg, and formed a partnership to practice medicine with Dr. Isaac B. McNutt, with whom he was associated for two years. He has had two other short partnerships, with Dr. B. B. Corley and Dr. J. R. Mayhe w. Besides practicing medicine, he has been engaged in agriculture and stock business. November 3d, 1869, he married Matilda R., daughter of Francis Johnston; he has one child by this marriage, James W. H. Fritts. He has been an active democrat. He was a member of the board of supervisors in 1875 and 1876, and the latter year was chairman of the board. In 1876 he was nominated by the democratic convention and elected representative in the Thirtieth General Assembly for the district including Shelby, Effin gham and Cumberland counties. He was a member of the flrst legislature to occupy the new statehouse, and assisted in the defeat of Logan, and the election of David Davis as United States Senator. He served on the finance and other important committees. He is well known throughout the country, and has established a good reputation as a physician. He has served eight years as Worshipful Master of Cold Spring Masonic Lodge, No. 513.


MILTON ROWDYBUSH, one of the progressive and enterprising farmers of Cold Spring township, was born on the 1st of February, 1839 , near Beardstown, Illinois. His ancestors came from Tennessee. His father, David Rowdybush, was married in Hawkins cou nty, Tennessee, to Anna Hall, who was a native of that county. Immediately after their marriage they emigrated to Illinois, settled near Beardstown, and all their children, four in number, were born in this state. His father died near Beardstown, when Mr. Rowdybush was of a tender age. His grandfather, Joseph Hall, then came to Illinois and took the family back with him to Tennessee. They only remained, however, a short time in that state. His visit to Illinois had made his grandfather so well pleased wit h the state that he sold his farm in Tennessee, moved to Illinois, and settled in Tower Hill township, of this county. Mr. Rowdybush's mother afterward married Reason Sphar, and died in Cold Spring township. The subject of this sketch was raised, principa lly, in Cold Spring township, attending school in that part of the county. When about eighteen he begin working on a farm by the month. September 21st, 1862, he married Elizabeth Jane Corley, daughter of Henry Corley. She was born in Cold Spring township. After farming about five years on rented land, he secured sufficient means to purchase land of his own. He now has a farm of 272 acres. He is one of the active and progressive farmers of Cold Spring township. For a number of years he has been engaged in raising Poland China hogs, and in that direction has done considerable to increase the value of stock in his part of the county. His six children are named, Henrietta, Martha Ann, Delia Kate, Rumsey F., Charles, and Gracie. In his politics he has always b een a democrat. His first vote for President was cast for Stephen A. Douglas, in 1860,

Page 218

and he has been a member of the democratic party ever since. For twelve years he has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has acted as Steward, and Recording Steward of the Methodist church at Williamsburg, with which he, his wife, and his oldest daughter are connected. He has been one of the representative citizens of Cold Spring township, and for twelve years has been township clerk, and for eight years in succession filled that office.


DR. McNUTT, who has been practicing medicine in Cold Spring township since 1865, is a native of Johnson county, Indiana, and was born on the 19th of May, 1843. His grandfather, Alexander McNutt, emigrated from Ireland to America, and settled in Ohi o. In Adams county of that state, Dr. McNutt's father, John McNutt, was born. When a young man he became a resident of Indiana, and in that state married Mahala Hensley, a native of Shelby county, Kentucky. Richard Hensley was born in Virginia, and settle d in Kentucky, when that frontier country was yet full of Indians, who rendered life to the white settlers insecure and dangerous. He afterward moved to Johnson county, Indiana, locating there when Indiana was still a territory. He fought the Indians, was active in developing that part of the state, and was early elected a judge of the probate court. The township in which Dr. McNutt was born and raised in Indiana was called Hensley township, after his grandfather. James Culley, Dr. McNutt's greatgrandfath er on his mother's side, was a Virginian, and a soldier in the war of the Revolution.

Isaac Benton McNutt was the youngest of a family of six children. He obtained the elements of an education in the common schools, and for about three years was a student at Franklin College, in Johnson county, Indiana, an institution under the care of the Baptist Church. His next oldest brother, Judge Cyrus P. McNutt, (now a leading lawyer at Terre Haute, Indiana, and formerly Professor of Law in the Indiana State University at Bloomington), had studied law, and Dr. McNutt concluded to enter the medical p rofession. He pursued his medical studies under Dr. E. B. Willan of Trafalgar, Indiana. In August, 1863, before he was twenty-one years of age, he began practice at Mahalasville, Indiana, on his own account, having previously practiced with his preceptor. In the early part of the year 1865, Gov. Morton tendered him a commission as assistant surgeon of the 148th Indiana regiment, but he declined the appointment, and came instead to Illinois, arriving at Shelby county, March 10th, 1865. He first began pract ice with Dr. John Spell of Oconee, and June 17th, 1860, located in Cold Spring township. For two years he was a partner of Dr. Thomas J. Fritts under the firm name of McNutt & Fritts. January 17th, 1867, he married Catharine Buchanan, daughter of Heistin and Rebecca Buchanan. She was a native of Fayette county, where her parents, (who were from Virginia), settled in 1840. There have been six children by this marriage: Mary Elizabeth, John Heistin, Mahala Ella, Olive Jane, James Carson, and Jesse R. McNutt . Dr. McNutt has had a practice extending over a large scope of sountry. He has been a successful practioner of his profession, and is well known, both in Shelby and Fayette counties. He began practice at an early age, and has probably undergone as much r iding in the course of his practice as any physician of his years. He is fond of his profession, and his natural qualities and extensive experience have made him successful and popular. He belongs to a democratic family, and was born and bred in a democra tic atmousphere. He voted for McClellan in 1864, and every subsequent democratic presidential candidate. He has been one of the active members of the democratic party in Shelby county. He has occasionally taken the stump in political campaigns, and in 188 0 made a number of speeches in Shelby and Fayette counties, winning the appellation of the "Silver-tongued Irish orator." He takes a deep interest in politics, and is well informed, and has decided opinions on the questions of the day. He is genial and so cial in his disposition, and has many friends throughout the county. He was one of the charter members of Cold Spring Masonic Lodge, of which he was the first worshipful master under dispensation, and was subsequently elected to the same position. Since J anuary, 1876, he has held a commission as first surgeon of the Fifth regiment Illinois State militia.


WHO has been a resident of Cold Spring township since 1847, is a native of the State, and was born in Madison county, eight miles south east of Edwardsville on the 7th of December, 1826; his grandfather, Laban Smart, was an old soldier of the Revol ution, who fought all through the war with Great Britain, by which thirteen colonies achieved their independence; he died in Madison county, of this State, and at the time of his death had nearly reached the agc of a hundred years. Mr. Smart's father, Wil ey Smart, was born in North Carolina; when seventeen years old he went to Kentucky, and in Warren county of that state, near Bowling Green married Temperance Taylor, whose family were early settlers of that part of Kentucky. Wiley Smart was a soldier in t he war of 1812. In the year 1816 Mr. Smart's father and grandfather emigrated from Kentucky to Illinois; this was two years before the admission of Illinois into the Union as a State; both died in Madison county.

The subject of this sketch was the seventh of a family of ten children; he was raised in Madison county. The first school he attended was in an old-fashioned log building, the fire-place of which was of such generous dimensions that it easily received a l og eight feet in length. When about eighteen years old he left home and began life on his own responsibility. From 1845 to 1847 he was in the pine regions of Wisconsin, and also worked some in the lead mines of Galena. He became a resident of Shelby count y in 1847, and engaged in farming and trading of stock. In April, 1848, he married Harriet Burrus, who died in September, 1860. His second marriage took place in January, 1861, to Elizabeth A. Hinton, who was born in Shelby county; he has had thirteen chi ldren, six by his first and seven by his second marriage. His political opinions have always attached him to the democratic party, with which he has always acted since 1848, when he gave his first vote for president to Lewis Cass. Toward the close of the late war of the rebellion he served eight months in the 14th Illinois Regiment, thus making three generations in which members of the family had fought in wars waged in defence of their country. He has been one of the representative men of Cold Spring tow nship, and for three successive years filled the position of supervisor. He acted for a number of years as constable, in 1879 and 1880 was assessor of the township, and for three years was collector; he has taken an active interest in politics, and in the offices in which he has been placed he has served with credit to himself and satisfaction to the people. For about three years he carried on the mercantile business at Oconee and also in Cold Spring township. He is well known to the older residents of Sh elby county as a man who has been strictly honorable in his business transactions, and a good citizen.

Page 219


ONE of the old settlers of Shelby county, was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, on the 25th of April, 1810. His grandfather, James Brownlee, was a Scotchman, who on his emigration to America settled in Pennsylvania. Thomas Brownlee, father o f the subject of this sketch, was born and raised in Washington county, Pennsylvania, and married Ann McLain, a native of the same county. Mr. Brownlee was the oldest of ten children. In the year 1824, when he was fourteen, the family moved to Richland co unty, Ohio. He obtained a good education, and when twenty-one began teaching shool, which occupation he followed for several years in Tuscarawas, Carroll and Richland counties. In 1831 he married Elizabeth Sheridan, a native of Carroll county, Ohio. She d ied in 1837. April, 1838, he married Rachel Dye, and in 1839 came to Illinois and settled in Ridge township, entering land where Prairie Bird is now situated. In 1846 he moved to Cold Spring towship, entering land in section ten of township ten, range two , and has since resided in that part of the county. His second wife having died in March, 1849, he married Mary M. Curry, a native of Tennessee, who died in October, 1869. He was married to his present wife, a native of Medina county, Ohio, whose maiden n ame was Lucinda Fulks, on the 6th of April. 1871. He was originally in sympathy in his political views with the democratic party, and cast his first vote for president in 1832, for that strong and stalwart champion of democratic principles, Andrew Jackson . He remained a democrat for many years, till he became convinced that the doctrines of the party on financial questions were fundamentally wrong, and he then became a member of the National Greenback organization. In 1876 he supported Cooper, and in 1880 Weaver. He has always taken an active interest in public affairs, and a few years after he came to the county was elected county commissioner. He was also elected county surveyor, and for six years discharged the duties of that position. On the adoption of township organization, he was elected the first member of the Board of Supervisors from Cold Spring township, and several times was re-elected to the same office. He has nine children living, four sons and five daughters, whose names are as follows: Ma ry, the wife of Samuel Wallace, of Tower Hill township; Rebecca, now Mrs. William C. Brownlee, a resident of Iowa; Reuben Brownlee, who is in the drug business at Mt. Zion, in Macon county; Joseph Brownlee, residing in Kansas; William H Brownlee, engaged in farming in Macon county; Rachel, the wife of A. J. Fryman, of Iowa; Julia Ann, now Mrs. Thomas Jester of Tower Hill township; Isabelle the wife of Joseph Jester, of Tower Hill township, and Robert T. Brownlee, who still resides at home. Mr. Brownlee is a man who has always stood high in the estimation of the citizens of the county. For a number of years he has been a member of the Baptist church. He has been a resident of the county for upwards of forty years, and in that time has witnessed many change s. As one of the surviving representatives of the earlier population of the county his name deserves mention in this work.


WILLIAM T. HADLEY, who has served for a number of years as justice of the peace in Cold Spring township, is a native of Ohio, and was born in Xenia, Greene county, December 28th, 1838. His ancestors came from New England. His grandfather, Levi F. H adley, was born among the Green mountains of Vermont, and took part as a soldier in the war of Revolution. He afterward became one of the pioneer settlers of Ohio, locating at Xenia, when land in that vicinity could be bought for twenty-five cents an acre , where it is now worth two hundred dollars. Simon P. Hadley, father of the subject of this sketch, was born at Xenia in the year 1812, and in the city of Cincinnati married Martha Taylor, who was a native of Covington, Kentucky. Her ancestors were early, settlers of Kentucky, and originally came from Virginia. Squire Hadley was the third of a family of eight children, consisting of five boys and three girls. In the year 1848, his father moved with the family to Illinois, and settled in Bond county, where he resided till 1858, and then moved to Cold Spring township, Shelby county. Squire Hadley received an education in the common schools, which in those days offered poor advantages in comparison with the present. For most of his education he is indebted t o his own efforts. It has been obtained by extensive reading and practical experience with business affairs. On the 6th of March, 1869, he married Jane E. Shay, a native of Kentucky, and a daughter of Thomas Shay. By this marriage he has four children, on e daughter and three sons. He has formed his opinions about politics from his own convictions. He is the only one of his family who is a democrat, but his democracy is of the strongest type. He believes in the old-fashioned doctrines of democracy, and con siders that its principles are best adapted to preserve our institutions and perpetuate our government. He voted for Douglas in 1860, and has never supported anything else but the democratic ticket. He represented Cold Spring township in the Board of Supe rvisors; for nine years has filled the office of justice of the peace, and for four years previous to his election to the latter position acted as constable. As a magistrate he has given excellent satisfaction, and his decisions have been much commended f or their ability and fairness. He has given considerable attention to the study of law, and has a connection with the law firm of Mouser & Kelly at Shelbyville. He has frequently appeared before adjacent magistrates' courts, and in the argument and trials of cases has crossed swords with some of the leading lawyers of the surrounding county seats. He is favorably known as a political speaker, and has taken an active and conspicuous part in politics. Mr. Hadley now has charge of the post-office at Beck's c reek, where his father for fourteen years previous to his death acted as post-master.


MR. SIMPSON was born in St. Clair county, ten miles south of Belleville, January 7th, 1834. His father, James Simpson, was born in Yorkshire, England, on the 24th of February, 1809. When eighteen he emigrated to America. For three or four years he lived in Philadelphia, where he worked in a woolen factory. He was married in that city to Ann Iveison, who was born in Liverpool, England, January 30th, 1799. From Philadelphia they came to Illinois, and after living a number of years in St. Clair county , removed to Shelby county in 1841, and settled on section 13, of township 9, range 2 east. James Simpson and his wife, are still living in Cold Spring township, and are among the oldest citizens of that part of the county. For several terms he acted as t ownship treasurer. John T. Simpson is the oldest child of the family now living. He went to school a short time in St. Clair county. He remembers the first school he attended as taught by an Irishman, who was a good teacher, with the exception that he was too fond of whiskey. The directors, finding that he was accustomed to slip out in school hours and take a dram from a bottle hid in the woods, discharged him. After Mr. Simpson came to Shelby county he attended the ordinary subscription schools, in the o ld-fashioned log school-houses. A log was omitted from the side of the building, and

Page 220

some greased paper pasted over the aperture conveniently answered the purposes of a window. Poles, flattened on top, served as benches. The chimney was built of sticks. He lived at home till his marriage, which took place on the 27th of March, 1856, to Ma ry Jones. Her father, Elijah Jones, was one of the old settlers of Cold Spring township, in which part of the county Mrs. Simpson was born. After he was married he rented land and went to farming. He afterwards secured enough money to buy forty acres of l and from the Illinois Central Railroad Company. He is now the owner of a farm of one hundred and fifty acres, with good improvements, consisting of a substantial house, and an excellent orchard. The names of his children are as follows; James Franklin, Cy nthia Ann, Elijah A., Miranda Alice, Margaret Ellen, Saida Lois, John Wesley, Joseph Edward, Mary Syrena, Laura Frances, and Thomas Fritts. In his politics he began life as a member of the democratic party, and cast his first vote for president in 1856, f or James Buchanan. In 1860 he voted for Douglas. Soon afterward he became dissatisfied with the position of the democratic party on the slavery question, and became a Republican, with which party he has since acted. He has been a member of the Methodist church for a number of years, and is one of the Trustees of Pleasant Grove Methodist church. Deeply regreting the inferior school facilities he enjoyed in his boyhood, he has been a warm friend of the cause of education, and has taken an interest in the e ducational affairs of the township. His name is worthy of a place in this work as one of the representative and progressive citizens of Cold Spring township.

|| Return to Main Site Index ||