Oxford Township

 

Is the southwest corner township in the county, its boundary lines for six miles on the south and an equal distance on the west, forming the county line. There were neither groves nor mounds to tempt the first comers to this part of the state to “stick stakes” and “hang out their banners on the outer wall” of civilizations, inviting all the world to come and partake. The very first settlers looked upon its level, wet wastes and no more supposed it would ever be covered with farms and fine improvements than would the deep lakes or the rock cliffs where the eagles rests.

When they saw their cattle grazing on the nutrious grasses they began to realize it was not wholey worthless for all purposes, and slowly they settled down to the conviction that for generations to come here would be free feeding grounds for their stock.The cattle made paths and these were washed by the rains into drainage ways for the surplus water, and in the course of time dry solid ground appeared where before was the bog, in many places of which a person could stand upon the tough grass sod and by jumping on it shake the ground for several feet about him.

Eastern speculators had entered the lands mostly without ever seeing them, when the craze for Illinois land ran over the whole country, and men became eager to buy lands here, scarcely caring what might be the kind or quality.The first settler was Almeron Underwood, from Green Co. Ky. His small brother Milton Underwood, came with him. A.D. Underwood was born in the township Dec. 11, 1839 and until the other pioneers came in may be called the townships first white squatter.R.D. Timberlake came in the fall of 1837, and he remembers at the time Almeron Underwood was the onlu person he found here.Anson Caulkins, at one time Assessor of the new township came here in 1841.He was born in Austerlitz, Columbia Co. N.Y. Nov. 14, 1818. His recollection are that there were very few if any permanent settlers in the township when he arrived. After fixing his abode he has never changed it. He prospered from the first, having a farm of about 400 acres of very rich land. He reared five children in their order as follows; Maria P. Mary E.,James B.,John F.,and Winfield C.,. His wife was Miss H. Griffin, of Berkshire Co.Mass.A.B. Cole was one of the settlers found here when Caulkins arrived. He came and settled in Oxford Township in 1839. Cole says there were but six voters, counting himself, in the townships at that time. His family consists of a wife and four children: she was Augusta Briggs, of Worchester Co.,Mass. Mr. Cole was County Commisioner one term, also was Assessor of the township.

 

John W. Cox came in 1849 from Wayne Co. Ind. He died March 2, 1869 leaving his widow, Mrs. Julia Etta Cox and five children.

Robert M. Wilber came in 1849. He died on the place where he first settled, leaving a widow and 13 children. Two fo his sons were killed in the late war.

J.B. Hoag, of Rensselaer Co. N.Y. came in 1839, reared a family of four children and was married four times

 

Sources: Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County Illinois

 

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