Sugar Creek Township

(Clinton County)


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


In the present population of this township, the German element largely predominates, and here, as in all German communities, thrift and enterprise, progress and prosperity, prevail. No better class of citizens can anywhere be found than that composed wholly, or largely, of those from the "Fatherland." Industry, honesty, and integrity, are indelibly stamped upon the German character, and in this township, these noble characteristics of that nationality are especially conspicuous. The fertility of the soil here is inexhaustible, and produces the finest crops in the state. The farms are models of agricultural art; business of all kinds is flourishing, and wealth, rapidly accumulating. Trenton, the principal business point in the township, is a thriving little city of some twelve hundred inhabitants. Its schools, churches, and various other institutions are well sustained, and are indicative of high intellectual development and refinement. The business men of the place, like those of the township generally, are noted for their activity and enterprise.

Sugar Creek Township

is the western part of the county, and comprises the congressional township 2 north, range 5 west. It is well drained by Sugar Creek and its tributaries. This creek enters the township at section 1, and flows in a southerly direction, passing out at section 35. There are belts of timber along the banks of the above creek, and its tributaries varying from half a mile to three miles in width. The Looking Glass prairie extends over about half of the township, on the west side. A strip of Shoal creek prairie, about a mile and a half wide, is on the east side. The O. & M. Railroad crosses the township from east to west near the center. In the timber along Sugar Creek, settlements were made as early as 1810. In 1811, the Indians became quite troublesome here. In the early part of 1812, Nathaniel JOURNEY built a log fort a short distance north-west of Aviston. Reynolds says in his pioneer history, "That Nathaniel JOURNEY was a captain of a company of rangers during the war; was a great and talented man, and mostly protected the settlements near to the fort bearing his name."

The only person that we have any account of being killed by the Indians in this township, was the wife of Jesse BAYELS, who was shot in the fall of 1814, under the following circumstances. BAYELS had located in this settlements before the Indians became troublesome, and afterwards went to fort Chambers, located a few miles south-east of the present town of Lebanon. When he left his cabin, he left a few hogs on the range, and in the fall of 1814, he concluded he would return and look after them. His wife accompanied him, and when they were in the Sugar Creek timber, a short distance north of the state road, east of the creek, they were fired upon by Indians. They wheeled their horses and ran. After going a short distance, Mrs. BAYELS, complained of pain, when it was discovered she was badly wounded, and could proceed no farther. She immediately dismounted and sat down by the side of a tree. BAYELS lay his rifle in her lap, but she was dead. BAYELS lived in this settlement many years afterwards, but never married again or settled down, leading a wandering life. James MCCRACKEN, a Kentuckian, was one of the first to settle in the Sugar Creek timber. He set out the first orchard in the county, and entered the first land in the township September 14th, 1814, south-west quarter, section 23. He was a great hunter and trapper, and rode as constable here for a number of years. He died on the farm he improved. His family lived in this settlement a number of years afterwards, but subsequently moved to Bond county, Illinois.

John JOURNEY entered the north-east quarter of section 11, September 15th, 1814. His cabin stood in the edge of the timber, about half a mile east of Sugar Creek. He lived only a short time after settling here. His widow afterwards married, and the family lived here many years.

November 5, 1816, Daniel SIMONS entered the south-east quarter of section 28. He improved a small farm here where he reared his family. He and his wife both died on the old homestead. SIMONS was a Methodist, and often preached to the pioneers in this settlement. He was also a great hunter, and spent most of this time with his trusty rifle.

Beverly WATKINS, from Kentucky, came to this settlement among the first. He was then a single man, and traded with the Indians. He afterwards married here, and settled on the west side of Sugar Creek, section 2. In 1816, he entered a tract of land in this section; was a successful trader and farmer, and accumulated property fast. At one time he was one of the wealthiest men in the county. He reared a large family, and lived to see them settled in comfortable circumstances.

John H. MORGAN, of Kentucky, settled in Madison county in 1816. In the following spring he entered the north-west quarter of section three, and began an improvement here the same year. He lived at the county line on the Alton and Carlyle stage route, eighteen miles from Carlyle. He kept a stage-stand here for a number of years. About 1827 he got a post-office established here, called "Clifton." This was the first post-office in the western part of the county. He and his wife both died at this place. They reared two children, viz.: E. M. MORGAN, a prominent farmer of Madison county, who died in May, 1881, and was buried by the Masonic fraternity, the State Grand Master being master of ceremonies; and Mrs. George RICHARDSON, widow of the late Judge RICHARDSON, who lives with a son in the northern part of this township.

John RAMSAY, a native of North Carolina, came to this township in the fall of 1818. He rented a piece of land from Joseph OLIVER, the north-east quarter of section nine. OLIVER entered this quarter Dec. 14, 1813, which he sold to John RAMSAY in 1819, and the patent was issued in Ramsay's name.

Thomas HIGGINS, the pioneer and Indian fighter, settled the above place, and Joseph ROBBINS also "squatted" on the same quarter, at the same time HIGGINS settled here. RAMSAY moved into the Robbins' cabin, and after about four months HIGGINS left and went to Fayette county, and John H. RAMSAY, a son of John RAMSAY, moved into the Higgins' cabin in the spring of 1819. John RAMSAY reared a family of eight children, who lived to be men and women of families. Thomas S. RAMSAY, who was next to the youngest child, is now the only survivor of the family, and lives in Carlyle, in his seventy-sixth year, a hale and hearty old gentleman, well and favorably known by all the old citizens of Clinton county.

Charles COX, from Kentucky, settled on the east side of Sugar creek in 1815. His cabin stood a short distance from the Journey fort, where he improved a farm. He was quite an odd character, a strong member of the feet-washing Baptists. He would often swear if anything went wrong with him, but would always ask forgiveness by saying: "Oh, Lord forgive me this time and I will never swear again." He died on the place he improved here.

A man by the name of SAVAGE settled near Beverly Watkins' place about the same time WATKINS settled here. He was a hunter and trapper.

John ROW, from Tennessee, settled in the south part of the township, on section thirty-five, as early as 1815. June 26th, 1817, he entered eighty acres in this section, where he improved a farm. He was a carpenter by trade, and put in the doors and did other carpenter work of many of the early cabins along the Sugar creek settlement. For a number of years he filled the office of justice of the peace. He was also a preacher of the Baptist denomination, and often expounded the Scriptures to the early settlers here. He died on the place he improved, at a good old age.

Barnet BONE build a cabin on the west side of Sugar creek, near where the state road now is, a short distance from the creek, about 1814, where he lived until 1817. He then moved farther west, and was one of the first settlers in Shelby county, this state. The first commissioners' court in the county was held at his cabin. He too was a strict member of the Baptist church.

Levi MORRIS settled on the west side of Sugar creek, section twenty-two, in the fall of 1817. January, the following year, he entered the west half of the north-east quarter of that section, where he build a nice hewed log-house, for that day. It was considered the finest house in the settlement. In 1820 or '21, while he and his wife were attending preaching in the settlement, his took fire and burned down with all his household effects. He was a young married man, and had no children. When the calamity befel him, he became discouraged and left the settlement.

Twiss Hill was first settled by a man named CRABTREE, before 1817. Joel MEDLEY, the first sheriff of Clinton county, lived here when he was elected sheriff. John SCOTT, James HALSTEAD, and others owned the place. It finally fell into the hands of Moses N. TWISS, and from him took it name as Twiss Hill. There was a stage-stand and tavern here for many years. The states met here, and it was a good location for a tavern, and for a long time it was the only one between Carlyle and Lebanon. John JOHNSON, a native of Kentucky, came into this township in 1817. May 23rd of that year he entered the south-east quarter of section twenty-one. The following year he moved his family to this tract from New Madrid county, Missouri. He went to that county a young man with his father, where he afterwards married. He lived in the place he improved in section twenty-one until his death in 1833. He left a widow and ten children, only two of whom are now living, viz.: Captain A. H. JOHNSON, who lives one an a half miles north-east of Trenton, and one of the prominent citizens of Clinton count; and Mrs. Eliza MCDONALD, now living in Trenton.

John JOHNSON filled the office of Justice of the Peace here for a number of years. From 1820 to 1835 there was a great deal of cotton raised in this country. In 1823 JOHNSON built a cotton-gin and run it for several years. The settlers for twenty miles around would come to this gin. JOHNSON took cotton for toll - every eighth pound. This he would bale and send to St. Louis, where it found ready market.

William JOHNSON, a brother of John JOHNSON, settled in section twenty-eight, west of Sugar Creek, in the spring of 1817, where he lived over fifty years. He was one of the County Commissioners in early times, a Justice of the Peace for a number of years, and a very prominent citizen. He moved into the south-east part of the county, near Crooked Creek, where he died about five years ago. He reared a family of three sons and one daughter. Hugh JOHNSON, who lives in the neighborhood where his father died, is the only survivor of the family.

June 17th, 1817, William JOHNSON, Sr., entered the north-east quarter of section twenty-seven. He afterwards entered land and improved a farm one mile south-east. He made a large farm here and built the first brick house in the township. In 1845 he sold out and moved to Hancock county, Illinois, where he resided until his death. He was a cousin of John and William JOHNSON.

July 2nd, 1818, William LEWIS, from Trenton, N. J., entered the north-east quarter of section twenty, where he improved a farm. The town of Trenton has since been built on part of this land.

LEWIS first settled about half a mile east of where Trenton now is about the year 1816. During his life he handled considerable stock, and was a prominent farmer. He died in Trenton.

Samuel HULL, a Virginian, came here in 1830, and located on the Lewis place, east of Trenton, where he lived several years; he afterwards moved to Aviston. When he came to this county, he brought with him considerable money. He was a good trader and a thorough business man, and accumulated quite an estate. His death took place in Aviston, November 22nd, 1865.

Samuel STITES, Reuben and Daniel RUTHERFORD, and George REMICK, were early settlers in Sugar Creek.

Among the early Germans to settle here were Joseph GUBSER, who was the first German farmer, and resided on section thirty-two; Henry HOLKAMP, who was an early settler near Germantown, but removed to this township, section thirty-five, in 1860; Henry TRIPPEL, who located in St. Clair county in 1837, and came to Clinton county in 1851. He lived on section thirty-two. He had four sons, one of whom, Dr. Fritz TRIPPEL, is a veterinary surgeon and farmer; two are farmers, and one is a hotel proprietor.

Thomas GRAESSER, who first lived in St. Clair county, and afterwards settled on section twenty-nine, where he now resides.

Herman KOLKER, who lives on section thirty-five, and who came in 1836.

Joseph HANKE, a prominent German and active business man, has lived here since 1850. On the adoption of township organization, in 1874, he was elected supervisor, and by re-election has held the office to present.

First School was taught by Eli HARRIS, of Madison county, in an abandoned cabin that stood near where B. BONE settled in 1816. In 1819 James RAMSAY taught in the Bone cabin, and for many years schools were taught in cabins that had been left by "squatters."

Among the first preachers of the Methodist denomination were William JOHNSON, John DEW, Samuel THOMPSON, Thornton Peebles THOMPSON, and Joshua BARNES. In later years, Peter CARTWRIGHT preached here often.

Of the Baptist denomination, the LEMEN brothers were among the first.

The first church in the township was a log building, put up in the Johnson settlement, in 1824 or '25 by the Methodists and called Sharon.

Old Aviston was the first town in the township. It is situated in section thirteen, on the old State road, and was laid out by Alexander SHIELDS, April 29th, 1836, containing thirty-two lots and a public square. SHIELDS put up a store building, and opened a stock of goods, a got a post-office established. Mail was received by stage three times per week. Aviston at one time had three stores, hotel and stage stand, blacksmith shop, and about half a dozen houses, and gave promise of becoming a town of some importance; but the railroad missed it, and in consequence killed it.

Old Trenton. - About the time Aviston was laid out, in 1836, A. W. CASAD laid out a town and called it Trenton. It was situated north of the State road. A part of north-west Trenton has since been built on the old town site. The lots were sold, but the purchasers never built upon them, or even paid for them, and the town was abandoned. A. W. CASAD was a brother-in-law to William LEWIS.

Trenton was laid out May 14th, 1855, by Alva LEWIS. William LEWIS laid out an addition March 12th, 1856. Joseph HANKE's Co. laid out an addition June 12th of the same year. William Lewis' second addition was laid out June 11th, 1860. Joseph Hanke's second addition was laid out July 2nd, 1866. Mathias LEONHARD and others laid out an addition May 26th, 1868.

About two years before the town was laid out, a man by the name of BUCKMAN build a small shanty on the north side of the railroad, opposite the present depot building. The trains stopped here. BUCKMAN bought and shipped grain. He got a post-office established here, called Trenton. He took in a partner named WALKER, who went to St. Louis one day, after he had gained the confidence of BUCKMAN, and drew the money of the firm and left the country. The rascality of WALKER broke BUCKMAN up, and he left the county, going to Iowa. WALKER is the same party who organized what is known as the "Walker fillibustering expedition." The oldest house in Trenton was built by William LEWIS, for farm residence, in 1836. It is a brick building, and is now the property of Mrs. WELLS, and is situated on Main street, block 3. Captain A. H. JOHNSON built the first house here after the town was laid out, a frame residence, in the early part of 1855. It is now the property of Frank LEONHARD. Joseph HANKE opened the first store. Mathias LEONHARD started the first hotel and kept the first saloon, _____ SHEPHARD was the first blacksmith, who started a shop here, a short time before the town was laid out.

Trenton Star Mills were build by Capt. A. H. JOHNSON and M. LEWIS in 1855. In 1866 the mill fell into the hands of Andrew EISENMEYER, who has since greatly improved the mill and machinery. It is four stories high, with four run of burrs and seven rollers. The Hungarian system was put in 1880. The mill has a capacity of 100 barrels per day.

The Centennial Mills were built in 1876 by Peter EMIG, Sr. It then had four run of burrs and a corn burr. In 1879 another burr was added. Mr. EMIG died August 15, 1878. The mill was run by his widow until her death, April 1880. The mill is now owned and run by Adam EMIG, Jr. and J. W. DUGGER. In 1881 they enlarged it and put it in the Hungarian system. It now has four run of burrs and seven double pairs of rollers, with a capacity of 275 barrels per day.

Business of Trenton

Physicians - E. P. TONEY, A. S. CLINTON, Samuel PARKER, T. GAFFNER, Jacob AFFOLTER.

General Stores - Joseph HANKE, M. GINZEL, C. J. STEINMETZ, F. LEONHARD, Henry A. BLANCK, Samuel FRICKER, Theo. KASPER, Jr.; JOBE and TANNER, and Ferdinand HANKE.

Drugs - S. B. WYLE, John MEGUIRE, Joseph OSWALD.

Agricultural Implements - Thomas H. DAWSON, LOUDEN & HAMMEL, [Mr. LOUDEN is postmaster]; H. J. EMIG & Bro.

Furniture and Undertakers - Joseph GLANZRIER, Gerhard REUPPEL.

Stoves and Tinware - Fritz BAUCHENS, Henry HILLER.

Saddles and Harness - M. MENZIE, George LEPPER, Jr.

Boots and Shoes - Jacob AUG, Jacob SCHUSTER.

Millinery - Mrs. C. BRINGHURST, Mrs. Mary MOFFATT, Mrs. C. SHEPHERD, Misses Amelia and Anna FRICKER.

Marble Yard - Fritz WITROCK.

Lumber Merchants - John RIEMANN & Bro., Charles RIEMANN.

Cheese Factory and Creamery - Fritz RASCH.

Barbers - John SCHUSTER, Charles EMIG, Theo. KASPER & Bro.

Carriages and Buggies - Ferdinand KURZ, VANWINKLE & Bros.

Grain Dealers - J. W. DUGGER & Bro., Park MCDONALD.

Hotels - American House, by William JAMISON; Trenton House, by Henry LAMPE; Union House, by Mrs. Ida LEONHARD; Illinois House, by C. AMBROS; Clinton House, by Jacob PETER; Deusches Gast House, by George TRIPPLE.

Livery and Feed Stable - LOUDEN & HAMMEL.

Butchers - O. S. RAMSAY, J. W. MOFFATT, I. BENDER.

Blacksmith Shops - N. MUELHAUSER, Joseph STANLER, Francis H. DAWSON, John SEITER, Jacob OLDENDORPH.

Cigar Manufacturer - J. C. MOEHLHERNRICH.

Several years before the town of Trenton was laid out Joseph CHAFFIN build a carding mill. It stood on the west side of the branch, between the branch and the present residence of Andrew EISENMEYER. It was run by David GREER for many years, and was a tread wheel, ox power. It was moved away before the town was laid out.

Trenton Coal Mines. - Work was commenced on this mine in 1865, and completed in 1868. The proprietors were Joseph HANKE, William SCHAEFFER, and John BUEHTER. Its depth is 320 feet; thickness of vein, five feet. Joseph HANKE bought out his partners, and in 1876 sunk a second shaft. The cost of the two shafts was near $45,000. Average number of men employed throughout the year, seventy-five; amount of coal raised in 1879, 1,030,000 tons; in 1880, 1,000,500 tons.

Trenton has four good substantial church buildings, viz.: Methodist, Presbyterian, German Evangelical, and Catholic, and a large two-story brick school building, containing six rooms, in which five teachers are employed nine months in the year. Prof. J. H. ADAMS has been the principal here for ten years in succession.

Population of Trenton, 1,188.

Secret Societies.* - F. and A. M.

Sharon Lodge, No. 109, F. and A. M., was chartered by Grand Master Thomas J. PICKETT, Oct. 7th, 1851.

The charter members were: - A. H. JOHNSON, W. M., Thomas CASAD, S. W., Joseph P. JOHNSON, J. W., Samuel WRIGHT, secretary. Isaac STITES, treasurer, George W. REMICK, S. D., and Isaac D. CASAD, J. D.

The lodge meetings were held in an up-stairs room of Captain A. H. Johnson's house, two miles south of Trenton, till 1856, when the lodge was moved to Trenton, and the name changed to Trenton Lodge.

The present officers are: - A. H. JOHNSON, W. M., Jno. SEITER, S. W., Adam EMIG, Jr., J. W., William A. HILL, S. D., William F. CORDELL, J. D., L. RIEMANN, Treasurer, J. WAHRENBERGER, Secretary, Thomas H. DAWSON, TYLER, James WILSON, Chaplain, E. H. DUGGER, S. S., and S. A. JOHNSON, J. S.

H. JOHNSON has served in all nineteen years as W. M., and Jac. WAHRENBERGER thirteen years as Secretary.

Odd Fellows

Clinton Lodge, No. 555, I.O O F., was organized Oct. 10th, 1874.

The charter members were: - John SCHUSTER, N. G., Jos. GLANZRIER, V. G., Phil. BOTTLER, Secretary, L. BECHERER, Financial Secretary, Fritz BAUCHENS, Treasurer, Paul BASSLER, N. MUELHAUSER, Jacob PETER, George TRIPPEL.

The following are the present officers: - Fred. KURZ, N. G., Jos. GLANZRIER, V. G., Louis RIEMANN, Treasurer, M. SCHULHOFF, Secretary, and Jacob OPPLIGER, Financial Secretary.

Good Fellows.

Schiller Lodge, No. 1, A.O.G.F., was instituted April 7th, 1859, with the following persons as charter members: - Melchoir ZIMMERMANN (died January 1st, 1863), William SCHAEFFER, Moritz GINZEL, N. MUELHAUSER, John RIEMANN, Jacob SIMON, G. REUPPEL, H. HILLER, G. RAULENSTRAUCH, C. AMBROS, Jacob STORZ, M. STORZ, Charles KEUPFERLE, John SCHAUFLER, John BECKER.

The officers at the present time are: - L. WEHRLE, W. G., M. MENZI, V. G., N. KEHR, Treasurer, Jno. SCHUSTER, Secretary, and G. REUPPEL, Financial Secretary.

Ancient Order United Workmen

Trenton Lodge, No. 153, A.O.U.W., was organized Sept. 29th, 1879, by Deputy Grand Master, Rev. John W. PHILIPPS, with the following charter members: - Dr. D. C. HEELEY, P. M. W., John SCHUSTER, M.W., Seth RUTHERFORD, Foreman, A. NEUBART, Overseer, N. MUELHAUSER, Guide, Jacob SCHUSTER, I. W., William REIDELBERGER, O. W., J. C. EISENMAYER, Financier, James W. MOFFATT, Receiver, Park MCDONALD, L. BECHERER, M. MENZI, Samuel FRICKER, Ferd. DAVID, Jacob SAUTER, William SCHAEFFER, B. EADELMANN, Daniel FENN, Jno. LOHMANN, Paul BASSLER, Jacob PETER, H. HILLER, Benj. BRADLEY, M. ZIMMERER, Wm. STAHL, Charles RIEMANN, John J. ZIMMERMANN, and Benjamin LOUDEN.

The present officers are: - Charles RIEMANN, M. W., J. C. EISENMAYER, P. M.W., Wm. A. HILL, Foreman, Jacob BOHN, Overseer, Jacob AFFOLTER, Recorder, Joseph HANKER, Jr., Financial Recorder, John KARRI, Receiver, J. C. POWER, Guide, H. HILLER, I. W., and Samuel FRICKER, O.W.

This lodge as sustained one death loss, Mr. F. MAYFORTH.

Knights of Honor

Aetna Lodge No. 1530 K. of H. has the largest membership of any lodge in Trenton. It was instituted April 7th, 1879, by R. P. SHACKELFORD, Dep., Grand Dictator, with John H. ADAMS, P. D.; John W. MERRILL, D.; John SCHUSTER, V. D.; John ISMERT, A. D.; Frank LEONHARD, R.; Moritz GINZEL, F. R.; Adam EMIG, Jr., Treas.; Fred B. SCOTT, Guide; C. O. DRAYTON, Chaplain; John KRAUCHI, Guardian; John ZACHARY, Sentinel; P. M. MCDONALD, Jonathan JOBE, Jas. R. DRAYTON, Trustees, Henry VOEGLER, Theo. CHATTILLON, Nic. KEHR, Wm STEFFEN, Louis RIEMANN, Geo. TRIPPEL, Jos. GLANZNER and Dr. D. C. HEELEY, since which time the Lodge has increased in membership till it now numbers sixty-seven members.

The present officers are: C. O. DRAYTON, P. D.; J. P. MAXEY, D.; Seth RUTHERFORD, V. D.; Jno. WOLFE, A. D.; Jno. H. ADAMS, R.; Jos. GLANZNER, F. R.; Louis RIEMANN, Treas.; Emil SCHAEFFER, Guide; Jno. H. RICHARDSON, Chaplain; Hy. STEINER, Guardian; Jno. W. STEWART, Sentinel; Dr. A. BUHRMANN, Med. Ex.; Adam EMIG, Jr., Jacob WAHRENBERGER, M. GINZEL, Trustees.

Aviston, originally Hull was laid out by J. W. Dugger and Co. It is situated on section 24, on the O. and M. railroad. The land here belonged to Samuel HULL. He sold a tract west of the present town to Cunningham and Powers. They laid out a town and called it "Hecker." Dugger & Co. bought eighty acres of Hull, laid out the town as above stated, and immediately built a good substantial brick business house, and opened a general stock of goods the same year. The building is now occupied by H. H. HEIMANN. J. W. DUGGER also built the depot building. The money used in its erection was subscribed by the citizens in the vicinity who wished to advance the growth of the place. The Aviston post-office was changed or brought down to Hull, and since, the name of Hull has been changed to correspond with the name of the post-office. Hecker is an open field or common, west of the present village. On the west side of the village stands the residence of George W. HULL. This building was erected before the town was laid out by H. C. NEAL, Samuel HULL giving him the land or lot on which it stands. Henry MEADLY and HANDLEY kept a small grocery in this building for a time.

The Catholic Church was erected in 1865 and '66. A fine brick school building, under the control of the church, was built in 1880/

The mill was built in 1867 by John W. HEIMANN, B. H. HEIMANN, and Albert HAAR, and has since been considerably improved. It is now run by B. A. Mauntel, Borgess & Co., of St. Louis. It has six run of burrs and a capacity of 250 barrels per day. The company are at present building a large elevator, to be run in connection with the mill, and to hold 60,000 bushels of grain.

Physicians. - A. BUHRMANN.

General Merchandise. - H. H. HEIMANN, H. LIPSMIAR and H. MARKE, J. H. DULLE & Co., Miss FELDMAN, Henrich DAMKER.

Drug Store and Post-office. - Herm. FRIDERICH.

Lumber Merchants. - H. DELLMAN, T. G. PEEK & Co.

Blacksmith Shops, - G. BREFELD, H. FICKER, Leo BACK, M. THORNE.

Hotel. - T. G. PEEK & Co.



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