Stark County, Illinois and Its People: A Record of Settlement
Organization, Progress and Achievement, (1916)

Chapter VII 


Transcribed by Gaile Thomas.

     Congressional township 13, range 5, prior to the introduction of the township system in 1853, was known as “Lafayette Precinct.” In that year it was organized as a civil township and was named “Goshen,” because a number of the early settlers in that part of the county came from the Town of Goshen, Clermont County, Ohio. It is bounded on the north by Henry County; on the east by Toulon Township; on the south by the Township of West Jersey, and on the west by Knox County. The surface is generally level or slightly rolling, well drained by Indian Creek and its tributaries in the eastern part and by Walnut Creek in the southwest. There is some prairie land in the township and the Walnut Creek Valley is one of the most fertile portions of the county.
Probably owing to the fact that this part of the county was inhabited by Indians for several years after the War of 1812, fewer entries of land were made by soldiers in Goshen than in the other townships of Stark County. Consequently the early settlers here were not subjected to the uncertainty of titles that attached to many other parts of the military tract. Among those who entered lands under the provisions of the Military Bounty Act were:

     Daniel Shattuck, E. B. Ware and James Ware, section 1;
     Isaac Bingham, Elisha Courtney and Rubull Parrish, section 2;
     Isaac Foster, section 7;
      Alexander Frazier and Francis Tibbins, section 11;
     Jesse Bradbury, Daniel Hand and James Matthews, section 12;
     George Newton and Henry Webb, section 13;
     John Foster, section 24;
     Solomon Dodd and Herman Johnson, section 25;
     Jonas Wittiford, section 35;
     Matthew Caldwell and Walter Thornton, section 36.

After the removal of the Indians a few of these veterans settled upon their claims, but most of the lands were sold to speculators.
     The first settlements in this section were made in 1830, some nine years before the organization of Stark County. Michael Fraker located in the grove a short distance west of the present Village of Lafayette, which still bears the name of Fraker’s Grove. There he erected a hand mill for the use of himself and his neighbors. This mill was afterward purchased by William Dunbar, one of the pioneers of Goshen Township, familiarly known as the “Old Hatter.” It is said that settlers from all parts of the county would bring their furs --- from rabbit to beaver skins --- to Mr. Dunbar to have them made into hats. So well did he do his work his hats would last for years, the owner coming in several times to have them cleaned and reblocked. Other early settlers were the Miners, Parrishes, Hitchcocks, Fitches and a few other families, some of whom lived in what is now Stark County and the others just across the line in Knox.
     In 1834 Henry McClenahan settled in the township, entered 240 acres of land in section 31, and continued to reside there until his death in June, 1857. The next year (1835) Conrad and Jacob Emery came from Ohio and settled in the township. Conrad Emery was a veteran of the War of 1812. Nelson Grant, a native of Connecticut, also settled in Goshen in 1835. John White came with his family from Ohio in 1836 and the next year Samuel Parrish, the founder of the Parrish family in Stark County, located on lands which he had previously entered in Goshen Township. He served in the Revolutionary war, afterward settling in Canada and coming from that country to Illinois. He joined the Mormon Church about a year after coming to Illinois and removed to Nauvoo, where he died. Some of his children remained in Stark County, where their descendants still live.
     Minott Silliman, the first treasurer of Stark County, entered several tracts of land in Goshen Township and became a resident of that township in 1837. Barnabas M. and James Jackson and Elijah Eltzroth were among the settlers of 1838. Mr. Eltzroth was a cabinet maker by trade and made a large part of the furniture used by the first families. The first election for school trustees in Goshen Township was held at his house on April 6, 1839, when Luther Driscoll, Charles H. Miner and Samuel Parrish were elected. Jeremiah Bennett was likewise a settler of 1838.
     Lafayette is the only town or village in the township. It is situated near the western border, on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, which runs almost due east and west through the central part of the township. A history of the village will be found in the next chapter. Goshen is therefore an agricultural community, though considerable attention has been given in recent years to fruit raising, and there are to large nurseries near Lafayette.
    The nine public school buildings in the township, including the one in Lafayette, are valued at $17,500 and twelve teachers were employed during the school year of 1914-15. The population in 1910 was 1,145 and in 1914 the assessed value of the property was $1,063,677.

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Updated June 6, 2007