Santa Fe Township

(Clinton County)


Source: "1881 History of Marion & Clinton Counties, Illinois"


The surface of Santa Fe township is somewhat diversified. A prominent ridge runs through the middle of it from east to west, extending from the Okaw timber along the Kaskaskia, to the timber line of Shoal creek. This has been known for many years, as the Ridge Settlement. Santa Fe Bottom-prairie lies south of the Ridge, extending nearly through the township from west to east, and occupies about one-third part of the precinct. Carlyle prairie juts into the northern portion, and embraces most of sections 3, 4, and 5. It will then be seen, that it is nearly equally divided between prairie and timber. The timber, many years ago, was first-class, and the best in the county; but at this time, it has been largely culled; yet with a sufficient amount left for the wants of the people for fuel, etc.

The township is bounded on the north by Wade, on the east and south by the Kaskaskia, and west by Germantown, and occupies the southern-central portion of the county. Prior to 1876, it was part of Carlyle and Germantown; but at the aforesaid date, it was made a separate precinct, with boundaries as above given, and contains about 15,000 acres. It is well adapted to either stock-raising or agriculture, and was several years ago devoted largely to the former; but in later years, the raising of grain has been the chief pursuit of the people, wheat being the staple product.

Early Settlements

Levin MADDUX, a native of Georgia, was one of the first, probably the first, to blaze the way for incoming settlers and pioneers, of what is not Santa Fe township. By what conveyance or means he came to this state is unknown to the oldest representative of the family now living, as Isaac, one of the sons, has no remembrance or knowledge of his father owning a wagon prior to 1817. Mr. MADDUX came from his native state in 1812, and stopped near Lebanon, Ill., for three or four years. Here they were obliged to "fort" for some time on account of the hostility of the Indians. He brought with him his family, consisting of his wife, and two boys, Zachariah and Ira. In the fall of 1816, they moved to this township, and settled on the north-east quarter of section 9. Their first house was a rail-pin, where they lived until they had time to put up a rude log cabin. These were among the trials of this pioneer. In course of time three other children were born, Isaac, Posey, and Richard, the former two being the only surviving members of the family, both living near the old homestead. The father died many years ago, about 1823. The mother survived her husband several years and died at the old house, at the age of upwards of eighty.

Isaac, who is now an old man, and a widower, is living with one of his children. Two of them are yet living. Sophorona and Annie M. Mr. MADDUX informs us that old as he is, he has never been a hundred miles from where he was born. Posey, younger brother of Isaac, lives near by, and also has two children living, Mitchel and Henry, both being residents of the county.

Henry SHARP, another pioneer, came in the fall of the same year as Mr. MADDUX, 1816, and settled on the south-east quarter of section 3. He was a native of Virginia. He reared a large family, mostly boys, some of the representatives of whom are yet living near the old place of settlement. Samuel and Jonathan, grand-children of Henry, are occupying the farm of their grandfather, situated on section 3.

Ashel SMITH, a native of Ohio, migrated here in the same year, and settled on section 10. He had no family but his wife, and was a physician by profession, the first in this section of the country. He practiced several years, when he moved to parts unknown, about 1825.

Another old settler was Leonard MADDUX. He emigrated from Georgia, his native state, with his family, and settled near Lebanon in 1812, where he remained until the fall of 1816, when he removed to this township and located on section 10. He had a large family, but remained here only about four years, when he moved with his family to the state of Mississippi.

John BROWN came from Kentucky, in the spring of 1817, and settled on section 5. His advent was hailed with wonder and astonishment, as he came, in one of the old-time four-horse wagons, the first that had been seen in this part of the country. He had a large family stowed in the wagon, besides several slaves that he had brought with him from his home in Kentucky. These however, were liberated in course of time, according to the provisions of the laws of the state of Illinois. We are credibly informed that several of the descendants of these slaves are yet living in this county. BROWN died soon after coming here. None of his children are living, but several of his grandchildren reside in the township at this writing.

In the fall of 1817, Alexander MADDUX, a native of Georgia, migrated here and located on section ten. But one direct representative of the family is now living - George W., one of the oldest men in the precinct. Among other old citizens who came here as early as 1836 are Frederick BECKER, a native of Germany, and Catharine WEAVER, wife of Michael LANDOLT. Mrs. LANDOLT was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. LANDOLT came from Germany and settled here in 1854.

As has already been stated, the first house built in this township was a rail pen, occupied for a short time by Levin MADDUX and family in 1816, and situated on section 9. In those days but little in the way of farming was done. Indeed, ten acres of improved land were considered a tremendous farm, the owner of which was reckoned a lord among his neighbors.

The first land entered in this township was by Wm. PADFIELD, Sen., Sept 16th, 1816, located as follows: the N. E. ¼ section 11, 160 acres; Sept. 24th, 1816, Robert MORRISON entered W. ½ S. W. ¼ section 12; Sept. 30, 1816, James O'HARA entered 99 10/100 acres in Sec. 7; Nov. 8, 1816, Henry SHARP entered S. E. ¼ Sec 3; Nov. 16, 1816, Levin MADDUX entered N. E. ¼ Sec. 9; Jan. 3, 1817, Jacob TURMAN entered W. ½ S. E. ¼ Sec. 17; Jan. 23, 1817, Lemuel HAWKINS entered E. ½ N. E. ¼ Sec. 1; Nov. 16, 1816, Ashel SMITH entered S. W. ¼ Sec. 10; Nov. 28, 1816, Leonard MADDUX entered N. W. ¼ Sec. 10; May 19, 1817, John BROWN entered E. ½ N. E. ¼ Sec. 18; June 7, 1817, B. BONE entered S. E. ¼ Sec. 5; July 26, 1817, Jonathan SHARP entered W. ½ S. W. ¼ Sec. 2; Aug. 12, 1817, Alexander MADDUX entered N. E. ¼ Sec. 10; Oct. 8, 1817, Benjamin TAYLOR entered S. E. ¼ Sec. 18; Dec. 19, 1817, William KINNEY entered E. ½ S. E. ¼ Sec. 2; Feb. 9, 1818, Zachariah MADDUX entered W. ½ S. E. ¼ Sec. 10; March 9, 1818, Joseph SMITH entered N. W. ¼ Sec. 27, and on the same day John Y. SAWYER entered N. E. ¼ of the S. W. ¼ Sec. 27, 40 acres.

The privations and inconveniences that the early settlers underwent seems almost incredible for us today to believe. But then they wanted but little, and harvested but little. They raised a small patch of corn, and beat, what necessity demanded, into meal. This was done by burning out a hole in the top of a stump for a mortar and using an iron wedge for a pestle. They improved upon this plan, in a short time, by boiling the corn soft on the ear, and then grating it off with the bottom of an old tin pan punctured with holes. This was the only method for grinding until 1818 or '19, when Henry SHARP erected a rude horse mill on his premises, and accommodated his neighbors by grinding their corn. It was only a temporary affair, and existed but a short time. It was situated on the land now owned by David KENNEDY. In time other and more pretentious mills were built, and the few pioneers were happy.

The first death was the child of Zachariah MADDUX in 1819. The interment was made on his premises, which formed the nucleus in after years for a neighborhood burying-ground. Indeed, it is still used as such, there now being many of the community's dead buried here. The township contains several such places of interment, and none that could be called public places of burial.

The first school taught was in 1820, by an old tramp, named FULKROD. He was a fair type of the pioneer school-master. He taught but one term, when he picked up his bundle and tramped on. The school-house was a rude log cabin, built temporarily for the purpose, the description of which would simply be a repetition of the puncheon floor, seats, and desks of the olden time. Probably the first to hold church service in this part of the county was Zachariah MADDUX. There were no church houses at that time, and services were held in the private houses; the log cabin of Levin MADDUX was the favorite house for many years for public worship. Jonathan SHARP and Zachariah MADDUX were among the first justices of the peace, but in those days they had very little, if anything to do in their official capacity. Thomas NICHOLS, a native of Georgia, who came here in about 1816, was the first blacksmith. He had scarcely any tools, but managed to shoe the horses and mend the linch-pins for his neighborhood. His shop was a log hovel, and situated on what is now the farm of Stephen ACKERMAN.

The following are the members of the Board of Supervisors since the town was organized: Frederick BECKER, elected in 1876, and served one term; Samuel STEPHENS, elected in the spring of 1877, and served two terms; Frederick BECKER, again elected in 1879; served one term. George LAMPE, elected in 1880, and served until the spring of 1881. H. F. JONES, elected in 1818, and is the present incumbent.



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