Peterson Store, Lynn Center


Alvin and Abner Arrasmith were the first to find this part of Henry County and make themselves a home. They came from the " Wabash Country," in Southern Illinois, in 1834, and halted in Warren County , just west of the Henry County line, in Richland Grove, which is divided by the county line. They reached their new home Sept.1, 1834, having traveled many weary miles of the latter part of their journey without any trail or track of any kind. They came to the grove and were almost compelled to stop, as it was storming and raining furiously.

The first day they built their house, of rails and clapboards, and at early candle light moved in. There were three persons in each family, and in this quickly-made pen they were safe to some extent from the pelting rain. Their fire was a log heap near the front door, or rather the opening where some day a door might have been placed. They were busy at work the next day, and so continued, chopping, grubbing and preparing the ground for early crops the next season, and making hay and stacking it for their kine. Fifty pounds of flour to each family was the sum total of provisions for bread they brought with them. Their neighbors were at the distance of 13 miles to the south, 15 north, 32 west and 35 miles east.

In Rock Island there was only the fort. It can readily be imagined how sparingly they used their flour, as it had to last them until acrop could be raised, the next year. They used mostly corn meal, which was made by pounding in a stump mortar, until a mill was built the next season, in Henderson 's Grove, 15 miles away.

This was the way the Arrasmiths commenced keeping house in the desolate new country. It was the true pioneer fashion, and these people were real pioneers—brim full of pluck, industry and economy. Soon their rail house was a house of entertainment; they had made a track had blazed the way into the unknown land and the wilderness—and others seeing soon followed. These wandering nomads, it seemed, when they had passed the bounds of white settlements, generally followed wherever they could see that wagon tracks had preceded them. In this way travelers in search of lands found their way to the Arrasmiths' hostelry, and were entertained, cared for, and often and often paid their reckonings by telling these people the news from the civilized world.

The Arrasmiths made the first road or trail from Richland Grove and vicinity to Rock Island . In the summer of 1836, 4 families had clustered around Richland Grove. J. W. Arrasmith was the first birth at the grove, born in 1835. Alvin says he had 25 cents in money when he landed a't his new home, as there was nobody to sell to him and nothing to buy, it was too much money for one man to possess. He eventually discovered that it was a great mistake to bring so much solid cash with him, and he never did fully subscribe to Greeley 's advice to all applicants for charity, "Take a half-dollar and go West, young man." The families had to do nearly entirely without groceries the first year. As a substitute for coffee, Alvin says, he often dug the red root in the hard frozen ground. This decoction had something of the taste of chocolate.

In April, 1836, Alvin Jones sold his claim and moved a few rods east, and this brought him into Henry County . This was in April. His neiv hotel, log, 14 by 16, was, like his first place, a resort for travelers.

This was the first settlement in Lynn Township —or, in other words, a settlement on township 15, range 1. Henry Peckenham was the next to follow Arrasmith into the county. Charles Norman came in June, Eben Townsend in July, Caleb Townsend in a few weeks after, and the next spring came William Smith.

Arrasmith planted some apple seed the first season. In six years afterwards one of his trees had 56 apples. This was an important event in the county's history. It was the first crop of apples ever gathered in Henry County .

Caleb Pillsbury put up the first frame house in this neighborhood, and, like the great apple gathering ; this too was an event. The first school house was not built until 1851. Mr. Jenks built a mill on Edwards River in 1846. This property passed into Guy Dailey's hands. In its earliest days it was a great institution, and deeply appreciated by the good people of the country for many miles in every direction. People of this age can have no appreciation of the old time value of the first rude horse or water mills to crack the corn and send the unbolted coarse meal to the hungry families far and wide. In 1847 portions of the Andover Swede Colony settled in what afterwards became Lynn Township , and to this day there are many of the leading men in the township who came here in 1846-7 as portions of the Andover Colony.

George Henry Johnson came in 1849. George B. Pillsbury came in 1836. He married Elizabeth J. Greely, of New Hampshire , in 1846. He became one of the wealthiest farmers in the county. He held at one time and another nearly every official position in the township. John and C. J. Samuelson came in 1849. Joab Tracy came in 1851.

CE Peterson & Sons hardware store c 1920

By Steve Peterson


Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County Illinois

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