Coles County Illinois Genealogical Society
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This small bit of history is taken from the History of Coles County, 1879, except as noted.
The present territory
of the county was formerly a part of the State of Virginia, and ceded by her to the United
States in 1784 and was called the Northwest Territory. In 1778, Virginia organized what is
now Illinois into one county, which, some years later received the name of St. Clair, from
the then Governor of the Northwest Territory. In 1809, Illinois was organized into a
separate Territory, and was composed at the time of two counties--St. Clair and Randolph.
After this Madison was set off from St. Clair, and Crawford was afterward set off from
Madison. When Illinois, in 1818, became a state there were fifteen counties, of which
Crawford was one. During the year 1819, Clark County was set off from Crawford. Coles
County was set off from Clark in 1830. it then embraced in it's territory what is now
Cumberland and Douglas Counties. Coles County was named in honor of Edward Coles, the
second Governor of the State.
The first white men
who made claims in the territory now embraced in Ashmore were the Dudleys. James Dudley
entered land here in 1826. When he entered land here he put his brother, Guilford Dudley,
on it, and Laban Burr, a son of Laban Burr, one of the early settlers of Edgar Co.
The first permanent
settlement was made in Charleston Township in 1825. In that year, Seth H. Bates settled
here, having remove from Crawford County. Jesse Veach, than a young man of eighteen,
"moved" him to this neighborhood. Bates was originally from Ohio, but had been
living some ten years in Crawford County. In the fall Enoch Glassco and his sons, Kimball,
Madison and Enock Clasco, Jr., came from Kentucky and settled just north of the present
city of Charleston. In 1827 the Parkers came to this neighborhood and settled on what in
now Anderson's Addition to the city of Charleston. They were of the family of Parkers
mentioned in the general county history as settling, originally, Parker's Prairie.
The first white
settler in this vicinity, is supposed to have been Samuel Ashmore. He came to this
immediate neighborhood in 1829.
When John Poorman
arrived, in the fall of 1836, and settled, in the northwest corner of the township, he
found just north of him, Julius Dugger, who Mr. Poorman thinks settled as early as 1833 or
1834. John Pemberton came in the fall of 1834 or 1835.
The first settlement
in Coles County was made here. John Parker and his sons, Benjamin, Daniel, Silas and James
Parker, and Samuel Kellogg and his wife, made a settlement here, and composed this first
colony of pioneer in Hutton Township.
During the summer of
1825, several persons were in this part of Illinois prospecting, hunting and seeking homes.
among them were Samuel Henry and John Robinson, of Crawford County.
The township was named
for the city of Mattoon. The earliest settlement was made near the timber on the Little
Wabash, in the south part of the township. In the summer of 1826, Mr. Charles Sawyer, a
resident of Kentucky came to this part of Illinois looking for a home. He remained a short
time with the Trues, in what is now La Fayette Township, and examined the country to the
south and west of them. Selecting a location at the north side of the timber, on the Little
Wabash, he returned to the True settlement, and hired a man named Bates, for $10, to build
a cabin, while he should return to Kentucky for his family. One family made this a
temporary home until they could build their own cabins. The family was that of James
The first white
sellers in Morgan township are supposed to have been John Caldwell and his son, who bore
the same name, and John Kennedy. Adam Collins is another of the early settlers of Morgan
Township, and is supposed by some to have settled here previous to the Caldwells and
The first settlements
made in the township were confined to the timber along the east and west banks of the Okaw.
The fact that a settlement was in the township as early as 1833, seems to be pretty fully
established, and John Whitley and his sons John, Elisha, William and Randall,are recorded
as among the first, if not the first, to settle and make improvements in its limits. About
the same time, but higher up the stream, we find Baily Riddle, from North Carolina. Jesse
Fuller came from Virginia in the summer of 1833.
In the fall of 1826,
the Hart families came from Hardin Co., KY to Wayne Co., IL, with a view to settling there.
In the winter of 1826-27, Miles H., Moses and Thomas Hart, Jr., left Wayne Co. and came
north. On reaching that portion of the Little Wabash timber now included in Paradise
Township, they determined to locate. Moses and Thomas, both single me, remained, and,
during the winter, constructed a cabin. Daniel Drake, from Tennessee, was found to be
living about four miles west on the bank of the Little Wabash.
Just who the first
settler in Pleasant Grove--often called Pleasant Prairie--is now hard to determine. John
Gordon, came to the Kickapoo Settlement in 1826, an the next year, it is thought he moved
to Pleasant Grove. Some assert the first settlement was made in 1827, by Isaac Fancher and
Buck Houchin, near the head of Muddy Point Creek. Others think Jack Price came prior to
Fancher or Houchin.
Samuel and John
Rosebraugh settled in the southwest part of this township in 1850 or 1851, and with William
and Jack Coons, Abner Brown, Benjamin McNeal and Milo Mitchell, may be considered the
pioneers of this part of the county.
© Copyright 2008 by Coles County Illinois Genealogical Society