Hallock Township History
View of the Farm Premises
of E. C. Root, Section 3, Hallock Township
Atlas Map of Peoria County, Illinois, 1873, page 76
The geographical designation of this township is "township 11, N. range, 8 E," and is one of the tier of townships bordering upon Marshall county. It forms a part of the northern half of LaSalle prairie. The township contains a great extent of bluff and timber lands, a belt of which runs through its center from north to south, varying in width from nearly four miles in the north, to a little over one mile at its southern boundary. The twelve western sections are almost free of timber, and contain a most excellent body of land. The southeast corner is also clear, and splendid farming land.
The first settler in this township was without doubt Lewis Hallock, who came to it about the year 1820, and after some months roving about among the Indians, took up some land and built a cabin in what is now called Hallock's Hollow, near Union. He was a native of Long Island, N. Y., had left home when a young man, wandered westward, and had for many years previous to his appearance in Peoria county, lived among the Indians in Wisconsin and elsewhere, gaining a livelihood by hunting and trapping. At the time of his settlement he was a single man, and about 1825, lived for some time with a Frenchman called Osier, who was the government interpreter to the Pottawattomie Indians, and had married into the tribe. In the Winter of 1829, he married a Mrs. Wright, a daughter of Hiram Cleveland, and brought her to his cabin in the hollow. By her he had one child, a girl called Clarissa, who afterwards married Henry Robinson. Hallock died April 1, 1857, on his old farm, at the age of sixty-one years. He was a man of sterling character, upright and honest in all his dealings.
About 1825, settlers from the East began to drop into the district, Simon and Aaron Reed came from Jackson county, O., in November of that year, and they were closely followed by Moses and Samuel Clifton, Francis Thomas, Joseph Meredith, Cornelius Doty, Resolve and Hiram Cleveland, Gerchom Silliman and family, and William Wright. In 1880, Joel Hicks and family, and Jeriel Root, with his sons Erastus C. and Lucas Root came. The greater part of these settled near the north end of LaSalle prairie. In 1830, Joseph Meredith settled on Sec. 12, and kept a small tavern, for the accommodation of the stage-drivers and travelers on the main road between Galena and Springfield.
In the last days of June, 1836, Roswell Nurs with his son Isaiah Nurs, and Ebenezer Stowell, came to the township on a prospecting tour. They started from Chenango county, N. Y., walking to Buffalo and coming from thence to Toledo by water, again took the road and traveled to Hallock township on foot, with rifle on shoulder and all their impedimenta in one knapsack. Taking due note of the fine land yet lying unclaimed in the township, they pursued a zigzag course toward Quincy, still prospecting, but found no lands more inviting, and on arriving forthwith entered their land in the Government Land Office at Quincy, and returned to take possession. They found at this time no one living north of Northampton, but in the Fall of the same year (1836) Erastus Root moved to his present location on Sec. 3.
The Winter of 1831, was an exceptionally severe one all over the West. During the Winter, two men, strangers to the settlers, named Dr. Franklin and McMillian, with six yoke of oxen and two sleds, loaded with goods and bound for Prairie du Chien, stopped at Simon Reed's and after a stay of about a week, during which they built another sled, and hired a man by name of Cooper to go with them, started some time in the month of January, and were soon after caught in a terrible northeast snow storm which filled up the track, and caused them to lose their way. Night overtook them when out on the prairie near Boyd's Grove, and they turned the oxen loose and tried to reach Boyd's on foot. Two of them perished, and the third — McMillian — got there next morning badly frozen. Eleven of the oxen were frozen to death, and one came to Meredith's.
The deepest snow ever known in the township fell during this Winter. It was three feet deep on the level, and the drifts were in some places fifteen to twenty feet deep. The cold was steady and intense. The deer and wild hogs died in great numbers, and the prairie chickens, quails, etc., were almost entirely destroyed.
The Black Hawk war in 1832, found the settlers in this district not only prepared for self defense, but to take the field against their treacherous foe. In April, of that year, Thomas Reed, Edwin S. Jones, Lucas Root, James Doty, Elias Love, and Simon Reed, volunteered, and their services ware accepted. Simon Reed was detailed to act as teamster, and served until the close of the war. The others named were at the front for thirty days, and afterwards served as rangers on the frontier between Peoria and Rock river, until they received their discharge at the close of the war. Previous to this outbreak the Indians were quite numerous and very friendly. The Pottawattomies had three towns in or near the township — one on the land now occupied by Emory Silliman in Medina township, one at Smith's Springs, and one on the Senachwine creek, not far from the bridge.
The first mill built in the township that the settlers in the northern part of it could easily reach, was that built on Senachwine by William Moffatt, one and a half miles east of Northampton, about the year 1834. The first saw mill built in the township, and the only one that ever did any amount of work, was erected in the year 1838 by Thomas Ford, in the N. E. 1/4 of sec. 13.
This settlement formed part of LaSalle precinct. Simon Reed was the first justice of the peace, and was appointed to the office prior to 1828, and Cornelius Doty was elected justice in the Fall of 1831. This election took place at the only polling place in LaSalle precinct, covering nearly one-half of the northern part of Peoria county, on sec. three of Medina township.
In 1850 the township organization was adopted, and the township received its name, out of compliment to its oldest settler, Lewis Hallock, by a vote of the citizens. The first supervisor of the township was Walter S. Evans.
The present officers of Hallock township (1879) are, supervisor, S. P. Perkins; town clerk, C. C. Lockwell; assessor, Alonzo Root; collector, R. J. Nurse; road commissioners, John Spicer, Hiram Rankin, and Justice Stewart; justices of the peace, W. E. Smith and Samuel Merril.
The only village situated entirely within the township is that of Northampton, on Sec. 13, which was laid off by Reuben Hamlin and Mr. Freeman in July, 1886. The first house therein was also the first erected in the township as a tavern. It was built in the Winter of 1835-6 by Reuben Hamlin, and was kept as a public house by him for many years. He came from near Northampton, Mass., and he named the village, of which he was the founder, after it. Aaron Reed was the first settler near the site of the village, and his old log cabin was replaced by the house which stands beside the bridge, near the south end of the village.
Nathaniel Chapin, a native of Massachusetts, was quite a prominent resident of the village about 1840. He held the office of justice of the peace.
The population of the village is at present but little over 100, and it contains one good general store, kept by Mr. C. 0. Phillips, who is also postmaster.
The village of Lawn Ridge stands upon the boundary line dividing Peoria and Marshall counties, and has a population of about 500. It has been partially platted for some years by individual enterprise, but has never been formally laid out. Nathaniel Smith, now a resident of New York State, was one of the earliest settlers in it. It has two churches — a Methodist Episcopal, and a Congregational — whose congregations are drawn about equally from the two counties. (The History of Peoria County, Illinois, 1880, pages 591-593, submitted by Janine Crandell)
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Updated December 6, 2004