CREEK TOWNSHIP (Pages 321-323)

THIS township is a regular square, comprising all of Congressional township No. 19 N., R. 3 E., in all thirty-six sections, or 23,040 acres, of which nearly one-third was originally forest. The northern part of the township is drained by Salt creek and its tributaries. Salt creek enters the township in section two, and flows in a general south-westerly direction, leaving it in section seven. Its course is marked by hills and bluffs, rugged in appearance. The small feeders rise in living springs, in which this section abounds, and whose waters find their way through deep ravines to the main creek. The bluffs present a comparatively barren clay soil, supporting a growth of oak, maple, and other woods; whilst the valleys, possessing a stronger soil, are lined with cottonwoods, hickory and occasionally walnut timber. The southern part is poorly drained, being low and flat prairie. Until artificial drainage was inaugurated much of it was thought to be practically worthless for agricultural purposes. By drainage, first in open conduits then by tilling it, has become the best portion of the township, and its possibilities are yet quite undeveloped. Fair farms gladden the eye where until a quite recent period deer congregated in herds.

The axe of that sturdy pioneer Lisenby was the first to break the stillness of the forest in this township, as he staked off his claim and commenced preparations for the erection of a cabin in the wilderness on section one, a little more than a mile from Salt creek, in the year 1830. He was a descendant of good old revolutionary stock, his father, Reuben Lisenby, having been a soldier in the war for colonial freedom, and having lost his life in the siege of Charleston. A brother, Josiah by name, true to his patriotic impulses, had enlisted in the same struggle, and was killed in the same siege. Abraham and a sister were bound out to a North Carolinian soon after the Revolution from whence he moved, on gaining his majority, to East Tennessee and thence to Illinois. He was the father of ten children, six sons and four daughters. With a hearty good will he commenced his improvements by breaking a small patch of ground about his cabin. He lived but a short time to enjoy the fruits of his labors, as he died in May, 1831. He was buried on the tract he had selected as a home, and which is yet used as a cemetery; his remains were placed in a rude, undressed coffin of black walnut, procured from Waynesville, twenty miles distant. A knot-hole in the lid exposed the body partially when it was lowered into the grave. Wolves attracted to the spot, dug down almost to the body, their work being discovered only in time to prevent greater mischief, whereupon the grave was made secure against these ravages. After his death Benjamin Lisenby, one of his sons, occupied the lonely home, made more lonely by his loss . Another son, Ezekiel, remained the first year, aiding in the cultivation of the clearing, then returned to Tennessee, where he remained until 1848, when he again came to Creek township where he has since resided. Numerous representatives of this family yet live to do honor to the brave old pioneer's memory; his wife, too, old in years, loved by all, yet lives in the enjoyment of life's evening time. In 1832 a traveling preacher, named Dodge, visited his lone home, and with characteristic Methodist zeal, proclaimed the unsearchable riches of Christ; although, by a hard day's ride, Lisenby could secure an audience of but three neighbors to hear him. Soon after, another traveling minister called, declaring himself to be lost. When asked from whence he came he replied, "From everywhere and from nowhere but here, and I wish I wasn't here." His zeal had departed with losing his way around one of the extended circuits of those early days.

John Miller was the second pioneer settler. He came from Casey county, Kentucky, where he was born in 1799, via Madison county, this state, where he was united in marriage to Mary Slatten, in 1818; thence he moved to Morgan county, whence after a few years' sojourn, he came to Creek township, where he located on the north half of Sec. 1, which he had entered on the 21st day of June, 1831, upon the occasion of a visit, looking out for a new home. He was the father of seven children, five of whom were sons, and two daughters. Two of his sons, Ebenezer and Benjamin, still live in Clinton county; a son, Joseph, lives in Harrison county, Missouri; another, Tyra, in Linn county, Kansas; and a daughter in Mason county, this state. The land he entered included the improvements made by Lisenby, which he bought, and which at the time amounted to a clearing of about six acres, which was fenced and broke; a cabin, 14x16; and a log stable, 12x14. He set out a hundred apple trees, which he procured from the vicinity of Decatur. This was the first attempt made at securing an orchard in this section of country; some of the trees, like grand old patriarchs, are still standing. He employed Felix Jones, Solomon Crow and Tyre Harp, all residents of Harp township, to break fourteen acres additional ground, so that the first season after entering his new home he had in all twenty acres in cultivation. Jones made for himself a pair of moccasins of hog-hide, in which to plough. They were clumsy, uncouth coverings for the feet, but, as was said, there was no wear out to them.

A man named Hamilton was the third person to locate within the limits of the township. He erected a cabin on Sec. 8. In the year 1835 two brothers, Ezekiel and John Lane, or Jackie, as he was familiarly called, came from Hamilton county, this state, where they had lived since 1827, having originally come from Tennessee. Ezekiel made his temporary home in the cabin deserted by Hamilton, whilst, with the aid of Felix Jones and neighbors, John built a rude cabin on Sec. 11. In the fall of the same year Felix Jones erected a cabin near where Tillmon Lane now lives, on Sec. 10, into which Ezekiel Lane moved. Ezekiel Lane was a prominent citizen of the county, and at one time held the office of sheriff. He was an active church member, and in the later years of his life preached considerably; his church membership was with the Christian connection, but his views were in common with those entertained by the Reformers. John Lane was also a preacher of the Christian connection, or New Light faith, bold in his declarations, very firm in his convictions,— indeed, his firmness amounted almost to obstinacy. He was an original Abolitionist, one of the first four within the limits of the county. An impediment in his speech detracted from his power as a preacher. Tillmon Lane, son of Ezekiel, yet lives on the old homestead; he has held various positions in public life; among them he has represented the county in the General Assembly of the state. He and a sister attended a school taught by J. J. McGraw, on Rock creek, in 1836-7; the nearest available school at that time.

Jeremiah Thompson came in 1836, and located on Sec. 1. He brought with him a family of ten, seven of whom lived to manhood and womanhood. Numerous representatives of this family yet live in the vicinity, and are all pushing, energetic men.

John McDeed came with his father, James McDeed, in 1837, and also located in Sec. 1. He was of Irish descent, quickwitted, whole-souled; as a neighbor and friend he was held in high esteem. It is related of him that when corn was scarce and high, a preacher called to get a few bushels, for which he expected to pay a good round price. McDeed filled his wagon to overflowing and then declined anything in payment, saying that though he wasn't a church member, he would contribute something to helping on the good work. No one ever appealed to him in vain for aid when in distress.

Parmenius Smallwood, with a family of fifteen children, located in what is now Macon county, near Decatur, in 1826. He was an Ohioan, born in Champaign county, of that state. George D., his son, was born in Rose county, Ohio, March 31, 1810, and came with his parents to this state; attended the first schools of Macon county, and grew to manhood, after which, in 1830, he located in this township. He was among the early settlers, and was here during the " deep snow." The same year, 1830, he commenced, with his father, building a saw-mill, to which he soon after added a burr, and did the grinding for the community. It was located on the N. E. quarter of Sec. 5. The burr was made from a prairie boulder, which is still in use, and is pronounced to be of very fine quality. Mr. Smallwood was in the Black Hawk war. He was an early surveyor in this part of the country; was married to Mary Ann Brown, March 24, 1839. The ceremony was performed by James M. Scott, a Christian minister.

The first land entered in this precinct was made by Hamilton. Entries were made as follows: March 4, 1830, Robert Hamilton, W. half N. W. quarter Sec. 9, 80 acres; March 4, 1830, John P. Hamilton, E. half N. W. quarter Sec. 9, 80 acres; March 4,1830, Eliza M. Hamilton, W. half S. E. quarter Sec. 9, 80 acres; March 6, 1830, Parmenius Smallwood, N. E. quarter Sec. 5, 157 acres; June 18, 1831, Ira Norfleet, W. half S. W. quarter Sec. 5, 80 acres; June 21, 1831, Warrington Spillers, W. half S. E. half Sec. 1, 80 acres; June 21, 1831, John Miller, N. E. quarter Sec. 1.

The first school taught in the vicinity was by Jefferson Cross, a lame man from Tennessee, in 1837-8. The school-house, a rough log building, was erected by the neighbors on section one. It did not aspire to windows, although a place made vacant by the removal of a log was covered by a strip of muslin. Children learned their letters, and subsequently to read, from the Testament. The Testament, Pike's Arithmetic, and two or three spelling books, completed the list of text books. The school-house was also occupied for religious worship. The first regular services held here, were by Rev. Thomas Welch, a pastor in the old Christian, or New Light order. He perfected an organization of those of that faith in this vicinity. John Pugh, a man of some ability, had gathered together the friends of Christianity occasionally in the school-house prior to this, but had not attempted any organization

A saw and grist mill was erected by Parmenius Smallwood on Salt creek, section five, in the year 1835. Smallwood lived near Decatur, and placed the mill in charge of his sons, George D., Samuel and Daniel. These sons kept "bach,'' in a cabin, on the banks of the creek, save when relieved of the tedium of housekeeping by a sister, who remained part of the time with them. This mill was patronized by people from an extensive tract of country. It filled a want long felt. People no longer had to go twenty miles for a sack of meal or flour, or as many did, pound corn with a maul.

The earlier settlers raised sufficient cotton to supply a home demand for cotton goods, which were manufactured by themselves. However they were chary of its use, as it was related to the writer by an eye-witness, that a young lady of sweet sixteen, in attempting to kick a dog, succeeded in flooring herself, owing to the closeness of the fit of her skirts. The kicking leg jerked the other from under her. Flax, too, was raised in considerable quantities.

Along the creek bottom a number of hunters settled, or rather sojourned for a time, to engage in hunting and fishing. They were of the do-little class of humanity. As they sat around their camp-fires, spinning yarns, passers-by would hail them, with " What are you doing?" "Nothing to-day, but will give it Hail Columbia to-morrow". On the morrow they would give up the Hail Columbia business. So universally was the reply made by this class, that even yet an idler is accosted with, "I reckon you'll give it Hail Columbia tomorrow," or "that fellow belongs to the Hail Columbia class."

This township has been represented on the Board of Supervisors as follows: B. G. Lisenby, elected in 1859; Tillmon Lane, elected 1860; Thomas Ritchie, elected 1861; John McAboy, elected 1862, and served two terms; Tillmon Lane, re-elected 1864, and served until 1869; J. D. Graham, elected 1869, served three terms, and was chairman of the board during the year 1871; Henry Bennett, elected 1872; S. E. Arnold, elected 1873; J. M. Hendrix, elected 1874; Benjamin Miller, elected 1875; J. M. Hendrix, re-elected 1876; George Scott, elected 1877; J. D. Graham, re-elected 1878, and served two terms; J. D. Miller, elected 1880; H. C. Spainhour, elected 1881, is the present incumbent.

The following exhibit, taken from the assessor's record for 1881, shows the Agricultural development of the township. Value of farming lands, $282,022; town lots, $4,841; number of horses, 592; neat cattle, 837; mules, 85; sheep, 418; hogs, 2148; carriages and wagons, 232; watches and clocks, 154; sewing machines, 92; pianos, 2; organs and melodeons, 22. Total value of personal property, $57,034.

Lane Station

Lane Station; or simply Lane, as the post-office is called, was surveyed by John S. Brown, February the 5th, 1873, on land owned by Tillmon Lane, with metes and bounds as follows:

Beginning seven and fifty hundredths chains north of the S. E. corner of the west half of the N. W. quarter of section 10, T. 19, R. 3 E.; thence north 396 feet; thence west at right angle 816 feet; thence south 420 feet; thence easterly to point of beginning. It contains three blocks of eight lots each.

The first addition was made by Tillmon Lane, of twenty-four lots. February 1st, 1875.

The second addition by Messrs. John T. and James Lane, of four blocks, divided into thirty lots. March 5th, 1881.

The village contains a:

Dry Goods Store.— J. A. Fosnaugh.
Groceries.— B. F. Martin.
Blacksmith.— Louis Dement.
Wagon-maker.— E. J. Deveree.
Physicians.— Dr. J. A. Simmerman; Dr. J. R. Gardiner.
Station Agent.— Lewis Lane.
Post-master.— B. F. Martin.
Grain Dealers.—J. Lane and George Bennett, George Scott.
Town Hall and Livery Stable.— Drury Thompson.

There are here two elevators; one owned and operated by Lane and Bennett, the other by George Scott. The Lane Elevator was built at a cost of $3,000. It is constructed for handling all kinds of grain, with a capacity of 6,500 bushels. The shipments for 1881 amounted to 100,000 bushels.

Scott's Elevator was built in the earlier part of 1881, at a cost of $1600; is provided with a steam engine of fifteen horse-power. Has a capacity for storing 6,500 bushels grain, and during the five months it has been operated, there have been shipped from it about 40,000 bushels grain.

Alexander Swan built the first house erected in the village of Lane.

In the spring of 1873, Dr. J. A. Simmerman brought the first stock of goods, and opened a general store. In the fall of the same year, John Nelson opened the second store.

Harrison Kidder was the first postmaster appointed in 1873. The office was established on application, quite generally signed by citizens living in the near vicinity.

Outside of Lane, no industries, save a wagon and blacksmith shop, by Samuel Arthur, and the tile works operated by Messrs. Lane, Brittin and Thompson, near by the village, are carried on. These works were erected in the year 1880. Capital stock, $2,500. During 1880, about 225,000 feet of tiling were made, for which there was a home demand.

The population of the township for 1860 was 794; for 1870, 1022; and for 1880, 1211, showing a steady and regular growth.

What is now popularly called the Havana branch of the Wabash railroad, was built through this township in 1872. In 1870 the township was asked to subscribe $30,000 in behalf of the Havana, Mason City, Lincoln and Eastern railroads, under the management of Smith, Griggs & Co., with Thomas Snell of Clinton, as President. In accordance therewith, a town meeting was called on the 21st day of June, 1870, to vote for or against the proposed subscription, which resulted in 121 votes for, to 44 votes against the proposition. The amount of the subscription was to be raised in bonds, with payment to run from ten to twenty years. The bonds were deposited with the State Treasurer, to be holden by him until the company had complied with the contract and completed the road, which was to be done within two years from the date of the issue of the bonds. In 1872 the road was completed; that part passing through this township having been graded and built on a sub-contract, taken by Tillmon Lane, Drury Thompson and A. K. Miller. The interest on bonds, ten percent per annum, has been generally met since their issue.

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