Source: "1881 History of Marion & Clinton Counties, Illinois"
In 1874, at the time of township organization, this territory, with what is now Lake township, constituted what was then called Crooked Creek precinct. In 1875, Crooked Creek was sub-divided and formed into two townships, viz: Brookside and Lake. A portion of the citizens of the former, when the division was made, desired that their territory should retain the original name, Crooked Creek, but they were over-ruled, and it took its name from the Brookside school-house, situated on the north-west corner of section 10. Brookside occupies the south-east corner of Clinton county, and contains upwards of 15,000 acres. It is bounded on the north by Meridian, on the east by Marion county, on the south by Washington county, and on the west by the township of Lake. The census of 1880, gives it a population of 954, three less than that of Meridian. It is about equally divided between prairie and timber, the former predominating. Crooked Creek, a tributary of the Kaskaskia, enters the precinct in section 12, and takes a diagonal course from east to west through the township, and passes out at the extreme south-west corner of section 19.
We take the privilege of embodying a synopsis of a portion of the article written by Henry C. GILMOUR, in 1876, - Centennial year, - written by request of the county board. It is too good to be lost. William TAYLOR, of Butler county, Kentucky, made a location for a home upon the land now occupied by H. C. GILMOUR in the year 1810. The proximity of the Indians and the war of 1812, called him away. In 1813 he returned and built a cabin for himself and family. This was the first settlement in the township. TAYLOR also built a cabin for Mrs. Elizabeth ANDERSON, a widow, and a step-daughter, and who afterwards married David ROPER. The latter settled on section 10, about the year 1818. On the south-west quarter of section 10, a Mr. BROWN from Cincinnati, located a village about 1817, which he called Clinton, but the enterprise went by the board, and there are few that know it ever existed. About the same time, Thomas NEAL settled in section2, and a Mr. SHERWOOD had the first mill in section 1, upon the place afterwards occupied by Col. JOLLIFF. We are informed that Mr. SHERWOOD had the first mill in this section of country for manufacturing meal, and tradition says, that in the absence of horses, the old lady and her daughters pulled the sweep around for grinding.
William TAYLOR, the pioneer, hunter and trapper, above mentioned, built the first cabin. It was constructed by driving crotches in the ground with poles resting on them, and then roofed with brush. The first winter he kept his horses on slippery-elm bark, that being the only feed he could muster that they would eat. In the fall of 1819, he sold out his right to John GILMOUR. The records show that Mr. GILMOUR entered land in 1917, but as he bought the right of TAYLOR, (this was under the $2 act) the patent was made in GILMOUR's name, hence the discrepancy. Mr. TAYLOR had three sons, John, Wiley, and Preston; also two step-daughters. He moved with his whole family to Arkansas, in 1819, but returned to Illinois in 1821, and settled near Centralia, after which all traces of the family have disappeared.
John GILMOUR, the purchaser of TAYLOR's possession, was a native of Glasgow, Scotland. He came to the state a single man in the year 1793. For a while most of his time was spent wandering over the western wilds. This wandering life he continued until 1804, when he stopped and plied his trade, that of a brickmaker and architect. He remained here until 1810, when he migrated to Ohio. The war of 1812 engrossed his attention, and he enlisted and underwent the hardships of the soldier's life. At the close of the war, he returned to his home in Ohio, and soon afterwards married Sarah MATTHEWS, from which union one child was born. Mrs. GILMOUR died soon afterwards. In the meantime, Mr. GILMOUR had made the brick, and constructed the first brick court-house in Urbana, Ohio. He afterwards married a Miss Eleanor DAWSON, a daughter of an old Revolutionary soldier. From this marriage ten children were born, four of whom are yet living; J. F. H. C. Eleanor, and Adam C., only two of whom are living in the township, H. C. and Adam C. The former lives on the old homestead, the latter resides on section 15; both are old and much respected citizens of the county. John GILMOUR, the elder, died at the old homestead in the fall of 1833. Mrs. GILMOUR survived her husband for several years, when she died in the 72nd year of her age, in 1862.
John PADON was another old settler who came from Kentucky with his family in 1819. He had two sons and seven daughters. He moved away in an early day, and none of his representatives are now living in the county.
David ROPER, a native of Tennessee, came about 1818. He was then a single man, but afterwards married the widow ANDERSON, step-daughter of Wm. TAYLOR, as has already been mentioned. A grandson of Mr. ROPER is now living in the township. Benjamin WATTS, a son of the old pioneer, Haden WATTS, moved from Lake township to Brookside in 1840, and with the exception of H. C. GILMOUR, is the oldest man in the precinct. Mr. WATTS has a family of a wife and one son, and is considered one of the best citizens of Brookside. The marriage of Mr. ROPER, and Mrs. ANDERSON was probably the first marriage in the precinct, being about the year 1820. The first birth was Jane GILMOUR, daughter of John GILMOUR. This was in 1821. She was also the first death, only living a few months after her birth. The first place of interment was on section 15, the old farm of John GILMOUR, now occupied by his son, Henry C. An unpretentious sandstone, inscribed J. G. marks the spot where the old pioneer lies at rest. The place has been used ever since as a neighborhood burial-ground. There have been upwards of eighty interments made, but very few tomb-stones grace this little city of the dead.
The first school was taught by a man by the name of STOOPS. This was in the winter of 1826-7. He taught in the chamber of John GILMOUR's house with the attendance of Mr. GILMOUR's children and two others. His salary was $9 a month and board. The term taught was two months. Spelling, reading and writing were the branches taught.
The first school-house was build by voluntary effort on the part of the people in 1841. It was situated in the north-east quarter of section 23, and has long since passed away. The township now contains five commodious school-houses, where schools are taught five to six months in the year. What a change within less that half a century!
The first preaching was conducted by Simeon WALKER, Wilson PITNER, and Reverend CHAMBERLAIN. The services were conducted in private houses in the neighborhood, John GILMOUR's being the headquarters. This was between 1820 and 30. The first justices of the peace were appointed; John GILMOUR being the first appointed. The first elected justice was John JOHNSON in 1832. Whitaker CRABTREE was the first blacksmith. He was a native of Tennessee, and came here in an early day. In 1829, he built his shop on the land now owned by Mrs. RICKARD. The shop was a mere pole house with four corner posts with forks at the upper end. Poles were then laid across, and brush completed the roof. The horn of an anvil served every purpose for and anvil; and the bellows was a home-made affair constructed as follows: Two slabs were sawed or chopped off from the end of a large log, and hollowed out by burning them out on one side in a concave form. They were then fastened together, (forming the sides) by nailing coon skins, dressed with the hair on, to the ungainly blocks of wood. To this was rigged a rude nozzle, and the thing was complete. About all the work done in this shop was the shoeing of horses, the mending or manufacturing of linch-pins and a few other odd jobs in this time
The first mill except the one already mentioned, built by Mr. SHERWOOD, was constructed by John GILMOUR in 1829. It was situated on his place, a few rods south-east of where the dwelling-house yet stands, and now occupied by his son, Henry C. GILMOUR. In mechanism it was the old-time horse-mill, containing one run of stone, and used mainly for grinding corn. It was in service but a few years, when it was left to decay, and go the way with the other things that were. The old mill-stones and a few pieces of iron are the only relics left to mark the spot where the old mill stood.
Early Land Entries
Below we give a list of the first land entries which appear upon the record: April 29, 1819, John EDGAR, entered the S. E. ¼ Sec. 9, 160 acres; also on the same day the N. W. 1/4 Sec. 15; Oct. 13, 1817, John GILMOUR entered the N. E. ¼ Sec. 15; March 16, 1818, David BROWN, entered the S. W. ¼ Sec. 10; May 21, 1818, Silas BANKSON entered the E. ½ N. W. ¼ Sec. 19, 80 acres; Sept. 22, 1819, John D. PATTON entered the S. E. ¼ Sec. 19, 160 acres.
The first fine stock introduced into the township was by Matthew STEEL, about 1852. Stock raising, however, has not been made a specialty in this precinct. The roads and bridges are in fair condition. In early times the principally traveled road was the old Shawneetown road to St. Louis. In the years 1829, '30, a bill was introduced in the legislature by Israel JENNINGS, of Marion county, to make it a state road; it afterward became a law. The precinct contains but one church, Methodist, and is situated on section 8. It was built in 1870.
Centralia, situated in Marion county, comes up to the Clinton county line; a beer garden, and the Centralia fair grounds are situated just over in Clinton county.
The following persons have represented this township on the county board: W. P. WHITE, elected in 1875, and served until '78; J. L. JOHNSON, elected in 1878, and served two terms; J. N. KERR, elected in 1880, re-elected in '81, and is the present incumbent.
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