(From the "HENRY COUNTY CHRONICLE." Thursday, Aug. 17, 1876.)

The second annual reunion of the old settlers of Henry County was held. in the park, at Geneseo, last Friday, 11th. A large concourse of people assembled from all parts of the county, not less than three thousand persons being on the ground, and the organization inaugurated in a Hanna grove last year was perfected and made permanent. President James M. Allan called the meeting to order, and Rev. P. K. Hanna, the first Christian minister to settle in this county, offered prayer. Dr. Ira R. Wells, from the committee appointed last year to draft a constitution, read their report, which was unanimously adopted.

The constitution adopts the name of " Old Settlers' Association of Henry County," and provides for a president, five vice-presidents, secretary and assistant, and a treasurer, to be chosen annually, except the secretary, who holds his office until removed by death, resignation, or two-thirds vote of the members present at a regular meeting. A committee of arrangements, of seven members, including the assistant secretary and the treasurer, and a committee of necrology, of seven members, including the secretary and the treasurer, are also among the annual officers. Conditions of membership are twenty years' residence before the preceding January, or being married to such a person, and the payment of one dollar. Under this constitution the signatures of over eighty members were secured.

A committee of one from each town was appointed to nominate officers, and recess was then taken for dinner. This was an exercise in which young settlers as well as old participated. The people of Geneseo had provided coffee in endless quantity, and. the visitors had brought their lunch ; and the maple-shaded park became a royal banquet hall.

After dinner the Chair proposed the question, Where shall our next meeting be held ? Thomas F. Davenport invited the Association to meet at Cambridge, and it was unanimously decided by vote that Cambridge be the place, and. Friday, August 10, 1877, the day, for the next annual meeting.

The committee on nominations then reported the following, and they were unanimously elected :




Assistant Secretary— P. H. BEVERIDGE.

Treasurer — PHILIP K. HANNA.

Committee of Arrangements —P. H. BEVERIDGE and P. K. HANNA,. ex-officio ; R. H. HINMAN, A. W. PERRY, M. B. POTTER, M. B. LOYD, M. UNDERWOOD.

Committee of Necrology—T. P. DAVENPORT and P. K. HANNA. ex-Officio ; IRA R. WELLS, C. C. BLISH, THOMAS NOWERS, SR., LEVI HIGGINS, WM. T. CROZIER.

H. S. Comstock then read the following historical sketch of Colona The first settler in Henry County was Dr. Thomas Baker, who came to the county on the 6th day of May, 1835, from Adams County, and settled. on Section 16, Colona Township—premises now occupied by George Kinkaid. Marinda Baker, a daughter of Dr. Baker, died in April, 1836, being then about 15 years of age, and was buried on the southeast corner of Section 16. There is now nothing to mark her last resting-place. This was the first death in Henry County.

The next oldest settlers were Thomas and James Glenn and Anthony Hunt, who came from Ohio, and whose nativity was Fayette County, Kentucky. This party settled on Section 20, on the 13th day of May, 1835. On the 15th day of May, James Glenn raised the first house in Henry County. It was built of logs hewn with the broad ax, and was 8x10 feet in size. The father of James Glenn planted a locust seed that was brought from the Ashland farm of Henry Clay at Lexington, Kentucky. This grew to be a large tree, and is now in a flourishing condition. It measures 12 feet in circumference at the base, and four feet from the ground measures 7 feet in circumference. Messrs. Glenn and Hunt broke and cultivated about 12 acres of ground that Summer. Indians, deer and prairie chickens were very numerous in these pioneer days — the former peaceable, the latter so tame that they often came into the yards with domestic animals.

Thomas and James Glenn made the first plow ever made in Henry County—the mold-board of which is now to be seen at the residence of James Glenn, and is in a good state of preservation. It is made of burr oak, is four feet in length and sixteen inches in width. It was hewn out with an ax by Mr. Glenn himself.

The first barn in Henry County was raised on New Year's day, 1836, by Thomas and James Glenn_ This was also of hewn logs. Anthony Hunt settled on the southwest quarter of Section 20, built a log house; and brought his wife from St Louis, in April, 1836.

The first coal found in Henry County was discovered by Dr. Baker, in the Fall of 1835, on Baker's Creek, which runs through Section 21. This has since been called the Minersville Bank, and was probably at one time the most extensive mine in the county. The vein varies from 4 to 60 feet in depth.

Erskine Wilson established a ferry over Rock River at the mouth of Green River, in the Spring of 1836. This was the first ferry in Henry County, and was on the main route from Chicago to Rock Island, and travelers in all directions found it necessary to patronize this ferry.

The next settler in Colona Township was George Brandenburg, who settled on the southeast quarter of Section 1, on the 9th day of September, 1835, and built and opened a tavern, which was the first one in Henry County. Mr. Brandenburg was born in Frederick County, Maryland, in 1799.

Stephen Marshall settled on Section 30, in April, 1836, and com­menced operations as a farmer.

Joshua Harper and James M. Allan next came to Colona Township, in May, 1836, and lived with George Brandenburg about a year.

Charles Oakley and a Mr. Wilcox; who were agents for the Morristown Colony, came to this vicinity in June, 1836, and lived with Mr. Brandenburg several months. They located the lands for the Morristown Colony, and laid out what was then known as the town of Morristown.

The agents of the Geneseo Colony arrived at the house of George: Brandenburg, in July, 1836. They made their location where the city of Geneseo now stands.

In the Fall of 1836 three families came from Genesee County, N. Y., .and stopped. at Mr. Brandenburg's. James M. Allan, James Bennett, a Mr. Seymour, and Mr. Brandenburg went to where Geneseo now is, and raised the first house, near where the brewery now stands. They cut the logs and raised the house in one day. Thus Geneseo may be said to have been built in a day by Colona pioneers.

Nathan and Abisha Washburn and Luke C. Sheldon, members of the Morristown Colony, settled on Section 30.

Thomas Hodges came to Colona Township in the Spring, of 1837, and located on Section 20. Mr. Hodges has been a successful firmer, and. has lived to see the growth of the county around him.

The next farm was opened by Joshua Harper, in the Spring of 1887, on Section 17. Mr. Harper built the best log house in the county at that time. This farm was then the largest one in cultivation in the county. Mr. Harper lived a bachelor's life the first year or two—Joseph Turner being his chief cook.

A post-office was established at Dayton in the Fall of 1836, and called Green River post-office—Postmaster, George Brandenburg. This was a distributing office for Morristown and. Geneseo. Settlers often came 15 and 20 miles on foot for mail.

The first election held in Henry County was held at the house of George Brandenburg, in June, 1837. Following is a minute of the election :

" At an election held at the house of George Brandenburg, on the 19th. day of June, A.D. 1837, for the purpose of electing county officers for Henry County (in the State of Illinois), the following persons were elected: JPhilip K. Hanna, Joshua Browning, Ithamar Pillsbur y, County Commissioners : Joshua Harper, Recorder ; Abra M. Seymour, Surveyor, Robert McCullough, Sheriff ; Roderick R. Stewart, Coroner; John P. Hanna, Charles Atkinson, Roderick R. Stewart, Judges of Election."


History of Henry County


©Wini Caudell and Contributors

All Rights Reserved

Illinois Ancestors