Buzan's Store as it appears now, 1905
photo by Moses Simmons
The County of Warren in the State
of Illinois was created by an act of the General Assembly approved January
13, 1825. At that time it was bounded as follows: Beginning at the point
where the township line between seven and eight north touches the
Mississippi river, thence east on said line to the Meridian; then north on
said meridian line to the northeast corner of township twelve north, range
one west of the Fourth Principal Meridian; thence west on said township line
to the Mississippi river, and thence down the river to the place of
Warren county then extended from
the Fourth Principal Meridian to the Mississippi river. The General Assembly
of 1841 passed an act detaching all the territory west of range three,
forming a new county with the name of Henderson.
Greenbush township it situated on
the southeast corner of Warren county, Illinois, being township eight north
of the base line, range one west of the Fourth Principal Meridian.
James B. Atwood was the first white
that settled in what is now known as Warren county. He arrived in 1828, and
located on section 27, now Kelly township. Adam Ritchie's and family came
the same year and located on the south end of Sugar Tree Grove on the farm
afterwards owned by Mr. Quinn in Hale Township. John B. Talbot with his
mother and cousin, Allen C. Andres, settled in the northeast corner of
Monmouth Township, on section one.
The first settler in Greenbush
township was Rowland Simmons. He came from Warren County, Kentucky, to
Morgan County, Illinois. In 1830, he moved from Morgan county to what is now
known as Greenbush in Warren county, Illinois. Here he camped in the edge of
the timber about one-half mile west of where the village of Greenfield,
(afterwards the village of Greenbush), was located.
He came in a covered wagon, driving
three yoke of cattle. His mother, wife and one son came with him. This son
was William Simmons, who was four years old at the time. Mr. Simmons brought
in his wagon a few cooking utensils and household furniture; also a few
tools. His chairs he tied on the outside of his wagon.
He immediately set to work building
his cabin, which was thirty-six feet long and twelve feet wide. He used
mostly hickory logs. This house could not be called a hewed log house, as
very little hewing was done on the logs. It contained three rooms and was
made comfortable by being chinked with blocks of wood and daubed with clay.
He also built a huge fireplace in the west end of the building.
He found plenty of Indians here
when he came. They were located on sections seven and eighteen, and spent
their time hunting, fishing, making maple sugar and riding on their ponies
about the country.
"Uncle Roley" Simmons was a hardy
pioneer and a man possessed of considerable courage, but sometimes he felt a
little ticklish or nervous in regard to those Indians. They were a little
too numerous for him; so he always carried his old Kentucky band of thirty
or forty Indians would come hooting and yelling up to him on their ponies
and, after dismounting and shaking hands, would ride away.
These Indians, however, proved to be
peaceable. They left a few graves on the hill south of "Nigger" creek not
far from a small stream called the Wash Branch. Numerous flint arrowheads
have been found in this locality from time to time. When the Black Hawk war
broke out in 1832, they left the country.
Mr. Simmons continued to live in
his cabin until the Indian trouble began in 1832. He then moved his family
to Morgan county for safety and joined the "Rangers" engaged in the Black
Hawk war until the Indians were driven west of the Mississippi river.
After Black Hawk, who was a chief of the Sacs and Foxes, was
defeated, he was made the ward of Keokuk, another chief which humiliation of
his pride broke his heart. He died on a reservation set apart for him in
Iowa, in 1838, aged 71 years.
His body is said to have been
exhumed nine months after death and his articulated Skelton is alleged to
have been preserved in the rooms of the Burlington ton, Iowa, Historical
Society until 1855, when it was destroyed by fire.
After the Black Hawk war, Keokuk
became the chief of the Sacs and Foxes. He lived on the reservation in Iowa
until 1845, when he removed to Kansas where in, June 1848, he fell a victim
to poison supposedly administered by some partisan of Black Hawk.
After the Black Hawk war and the
same year (1832), Mr. Simmons with his family returned to his home in
Greenbush. An infant son of his John W, died about this time and was
buried on the hill west of the village, it being the first grave in
the Greenbush graveyard.
In the spring of 1833, Uncle Roley
took possession of the sugar camp left by the Indians, they having left
their sugar-making outfit consisting of kettles, many small troughs and a
few large ones.
That same year James Simmons, a brother
of Rowland's, came from Madison county, Illinois. He drove three yoke of
cattle to his covered wagon and had also one horse-hitched to a light wagon,
some cows and three dogs. One of these dogs was a famous hunter and was the
leader in many deer chases in those days. Uncle Jimmy intended to kill one
of his cows for his winter's meat, but he found game so plenty that he did
not need to. With his trusty rifle he was nearly always sure of a buck or
doe when he went after them.
In the spring of 1834, he
took possession of the sugar camp that had been used by his brother Rowland
the year pervious. At this time it was difficult to obtain breadstuff.
Rowland Simmons went to Morgan County for breadstuff at different times. His
son William went with him to help yoke and unyoke the cattle.
In 1834, the Bond family came. This
family consisted of Jesse W. Bond and wife and their children, John Crane,
Benjamin, Joel, Ruby, William Barnet, Jesse W., and Nathan.
Paton A. Vaughn came in 1837; John
Wingate and Thomas Moulton in 1838. Sarah Snapp and family, consisting of
Franklin G. Robert M. William, Ezekiel M., George, Mary, Elizabeth, and
Maria, came in 1837. Aaron Powers and Col John Butler came in 1839.
Charles Stice came in from what is
now known as Henderson county in 1834. The same year Amos Pierce and his son
Clement came from Vermont. William H. Pierce came from Vermont in 1835.
Alexander Willard and family came in 1837. For a more particular mention of
these families, se biographical sketches elsewhere in these pages.
The village of Greenfield was
surveyed and platted by Wm C. Butler, county surveyor, April 14, 1836, and
was located on the northwest corner of section five. The first plat
contained a public square and sixteen blocks. Rowland Simmons and James
Simmons were the owners of the land on which the town was located.
Afterwards Rowland Simmons added
four blocks on the West and James Simmons four blocks on the east. The name
of Greenfield was changed to Greenbush in 1843.
Jesse Blankenship had the first
house erected in the village. John Sheffield was the carpenter and builder.
It was a hewed log house containing two rooms. In the erection of the
building, John Simmons notched and fitted one corner; or, as they called it
then he "took up" one corner. William Vandiver also helped on this building.
Mr. Blankenship moved into one of
the rooms; the other room he used for a store house, it being the first
store in the village. In after years this building was used for various
William H. Pierce used it as
residence and his son Almiron G. was born there July 04, 1838. Wood
Alexander kept a grocery in it at one time. Philip Karns finally purchased
it and used it for a cooper shop for many years. When Dr. William Randall
came to Greenbush in 1858, he used the east room for his office for some
time. The old building was pulled down a few years ago and moved to the
Karns farm north of Greenbush.
Among the early merchants, or
storekeepers as they were then called, were Crocker and Martin, and one Mr.
Edwin A. Sheble came in the early
'40's and engaged in the mercantile business. His father, brother David, and
his father-in-law Major McCormick came with him.
Mr. Sheble was an energetic
business man wand was well liked by the people. After leaving Greenbush he
took to steam-boating on the Mississippi river; became captain, and
afterwards owner in different packet lines. During the civil war, he was
engaged in conveying troops and supplies for the union army. He was with
General Grant at the siege of Vicksburg, and with General Canby at the
surrender of Mobile. During his career he build and commanded twenty-four
steamboats. The last one owned by him was the "City of Alton." He was
atone time general freight and passenger agent for the Rockford, Rock
Island, and St. Louis Railway Company. After amassing a considerable
fortune, he died at No 43000 Mc Pherson Ave., St. Louis, Mo., February 22,
1904. He was nearly eighty-four years old.
Major McCormick is still remembered by
some of the old settlers. He kept fast horses and engaged in racing here.
During the '40's he owned the horse known as "Billy Woods" which ran against
Dan Meek's horse "Big Colt"
The village of Greenfield became
quite a trading-point in 1839. Many newcomers had arrived and located in the
vicinity. At that time coffee was 20 cents a pound; sugar, 12 1/2cents,
nails, 12 1/2; starch 25; tea, $1.50; saleratus, 25 cents, madder, 37 1/2;
alum, 25; sulphur, 25. Indigo was 20 cents per ounce; camphor, 25. Writing
paper was 37 1/2 cents a quire; common andirons or "dog-irons," $1.50 per
pair. Almanacs were 12 1/2 cents; calico was 37 1/2 cents per yard, whisky
$1.00 per gallon and brandy, $2.00.
A list of person trading in the
Greenfield at that time is here given; and while it is not claimed to be a
complete list, it will give names of many who then resided in this locality:
Pleasant Atkinson, John Armstrong, Eli Butler, J. W. Bong,
Jr., J. W. Bond, Sr. Nathan Bond, Benjamin Bond, Isaac Bell, John Butler,
Stephen Babbet, William Cutherd, Liverly Cayton, David Clevinger, Joseph
Craig, Otha Carr, Samuel Cochrane, Moses Doty, T. J. Defrice, Capt. John
Darneal, John C. Foster, Wm. A. Fish, Wm. Gunter, Jacob Gross, Thomas
Gunter, Julius A. Hill, Wm Hewett, Reuben Holeman, Levi Heath, John M.
Hoisington, John Herrington, Abraham Holeman, Levi Hedges, Polly Hedges,
Edson Heath, Jacob Johnson, Wm. Johnson, John Jared, Truman Allen, Jacob
Bair, Joel Bond, John C. Bond, Wm Barnet Bond, Wm. G. Bond, Alanson
Bostwick, Wm B. Blankenship, James Bay, Ezekiel Chambers, James F. Chambers,
Asa Clevenger, Walter Clark, Abel Chase, James Carr, Peter Downey, Harvey
Darneille, Levett Emory, John Fisher, G. Geer, Hiram Gray, Francis George,
Joseph Gunter, Elijah Hanon, Mahala Herrington, Ralph Heath, Joel Hargrove,
Reuben Hammond, Peter Hedges, Stephen Howard, Phebe Hedges, J. E. Heath,
Sally Jones, Zack Jennings, Wm Jared, Jr,, Joseph Jared, Thomas Jones, Ezra
Jennings, Aaron Jennings, Wm. Jones, Wm Jared, Sr., Sam K. Kertley, Elijah
Lieurance, Patrick Lynch, John Long, Peter Lieurance, Abijah Lieurance,
Stephen Lieurance, Peter Lieurance, James Meadows, John Murphy, Horace
Mathews, Marlin McAdams, Wm McMahill, G. M. McCarney, Samuel Morse, Elijah
Meadows, John McMahill, David Nickerson, Daniel Perkins, Solon Powers, Aaron
Powers, Samuel Russel, Lauren Rose, Jonathan Ratekin, E. Roberts, George
Ratekin, Samuel Reynolds, Wm. Reed, James Robinson, Ephraim Smith, Joseph
Sisson, Wm. M. Sterling, Hasadiah Smith, Robert M. Snapp, Ashael Sisson,
John B. Spinner, Alexander Stanley, Andrew Simmons, John Simmons, F. G.
Snapp, James Simmons, Sr., Thomas Moulton, Andrew Millstagle, Henson C.
Martin, W. R. Monroe, James McMahill, John Plymate, Wm. H. Pierce, Stephen
Pierce, Amos Pierce, Milton Powers, Samuel Rodgers, Joseph Rodgers, Joseph
Ratekin, Thomas Rogers, John Riggs, Abijah Roberts, Thomas Reed, Joseph
Robinson, Peter Simmons, James Simmons, Jr., George Simmons, M. P. Swan,
Samuel Simpson, Samuel S. Smith, A. B. Smith, Rowland Simmons, Francis
Staat, James D. Smith, Wm. Snapp, Nathan Sutton, David Simmons, David Smith,
Hiram Taylor, Wm Tally, Thomas Teeter, Charles Vandiver, Wm. Vandiver, Levi
Wilder, Samuel Welty, John Willard, T. J. Willard, Alex. Willard, Jesse
Willard, John P. Wood, David Young, James Simmons (Stiller), Sally Snapp,
Peter Shoemaker, Ezekiel M. Snapp, Charles Tinker, Wm Trailor, Thomas Titus,
P. A. Vaughn, John Vandiver, Wm. Willard, Thomas West, Alfred White, Edward
White, Joseph Wilcher, Anna Walworth, John Young, John Young, Jr.
The following named persons were
also engaged in the mercantile business in Greenbush during the early days:
F. G. Snapp, Cyrus Sisson, Hardin and Shreves, N. P.
Tinsley, S. J. Buzan, Dr. Bailey Ragon, Merrill and Osborn (afterwards
Merrill, Osborn and Merrill, a firm compose of Frederick H. Merrill, Alfred
Osborn and Charles C. Merrill, Phelps and Shores afterwards Wm. Shores, Wm.
Snapp, Adams, Butler and Adams ( a firm composed of David Adams, W. H. H.
Butler and Riley Adams), James C. Johnson, John Terry, A. R. Harman, Wm
Randall, and John R. Sanpp.
Of Early blacksmiths, Thomas Rodger
was about the first; afterwards Francis Stat, Amos Pierce, Thomas Darneille,
Henzie Darneille, Milton Powers, Alfred Dowdy, Alexander McGrew, Cornelius
Hanks, Patrick H. Woods, Edward Taylor, Henry Hains, John
Watson, Thomas Carroll, Noah D. Clark, Michael Carroll, and S. C. Irving.
The wagon-makers were James Fife,
Joseph Parkins, Julius T. Lathrop, Lewis L. Ury, David Armstrong, Porter J.
Jack, John Regan, John Brown, Isaac Fisher, James D. Simmons, Elijah
Frampton, Stephen Lieurance, and Bennett Wood.
Some of the first doctors were Abel
Chase, Bailey Ragon, Reamer A. Saunders, Thomas M. Luster, Dr. Lee, Dr.
Agers, Richard Hammond, N. B. McKay, Wm Randall, T. J. Shreves, Dr. Dow,
John E. Alvord, Dr. Norris, W. D. Sterling, Dr. Randelson, and Dr. Campbell.
The following named person kept hotel,
or what was generally called tavern in those days; Charles Stice, Abner
Walker, Jane Walker, Nathaniel Wilcox, Isaac Hanks, George A. Walker,
Stephen Lieurance, David Young, Jacob Emrick, and A. R. Harman.
The following name dperson worked
at the cooper trade: Philip Karns, Lewis L. Ury, George
Helterbridle, Wm. Shefler, Moses Romaine,
and Thomas Kinney.
Oliver Crissey learned the trade of
Harness-making of Daniel Chapin and was in the business in Greenbush in 1853
and 1854. Chapin sold to Crissey and bought a house and lot in Galesburg for
two hundred dollars and then moved there. Rodney Boone and James H. Crawford
worked for Crissey until he sold to Isaac Hanks. James H. Crawford then went
to work for Hanks.
This man Crawford was a good
workman and was considered honest and reliable, only he would take spells of
drinking liquor. At one time he went to Burlington, got on a spree and was
arrested, convicted and sent to the penitentiary at Ft. Madison, Iowa, for
passing counterfeit money.
It was believed by many that this
counterfeit money was given him in change and that he did not know it was
counterfeit. A petition for pardon with many signers was presented to the
authorities in Iowa by Wm May of Greenbush. Crawford was finally pardoned
and came back to the residence of Isaac Hanks in McDonough county, where in
a short time he died. This was in 1862. He was buried in the Bond
Graveyard on the north side.
The tailor sin the earlier days of
Greenbush were: James Francis, James F. Changers, John Kramer, and
The women of Greenbush and
surrounding country cut and made the most of the clothin used at that time.
The carpenters and builders were:
Archie Fisher, John Sheffield, Mr. Blackman, Levi Lincoln, Clinton Lincoln,
Oscar Lincoln, John W. Nance, Henry Smith, David Armstrong, Henry Kaufman,
Wm. Thompson, Truble G. Taylor, and John Bowman.
The following named person were engaged in the business of
selling drugs; D. R. Hamilton, Daniel Warner, Mr. Coleman, Dr. Pyle, and
James M. Frantz.
The weavers of the village were
Mary Almond, C. H. Raberding, and Sarah Young. In the township there were
many looms and many families did their own weaving.
The old settlers passed through many
hardships but they were generally stout, hearty, and rugged. There were also
possessed of a kind, sympathetic nature. When any one was in trouble, his
neighbors were sure to help him. Their dwellings were rude log houses,
chinked with blocks of wood and daubed with clay. The hearth was made of
stone. The roof of these cabins was made of boards rived out of with a fro.
These boards were held on with weight poles. The door was hung on wooden
hinges and had a wooden latch which was raised by pulling a string on the
outside. The floor was generally mad e from logs split and hewed into what
was called puncheons.
Very few nails were used in the
construction of these cabins, as they were scarce and high in price. The
wall plates were put on with wood pins. The lower part of the Chimneys was
built of sod and upper part of sticks and clay. Some of these cabins had one
small window with 8 by 10 glass.
After the settlers had been here
some time, some of them built double log-houses. These houses contained two
rooms with chimney in center, thus making a fireplace in each room; the logs
all being hewed, this was considered and extra house. The fireplaces
generally had a pair of andrions or dog-irons as they were generally called.
The fireplace used for cooking was sometimes supplied with a crane which was
placed in the fireplace on hinges with a brace-bar running across on which
was suspended hooks; on these hooks the kettles and pots were hung.
As a matter of fact. these cabins
did not always contain the same kind of household furniture, yet they
generally had very much the same kind. When you pulled the latch string and
went in, you found the bark-bottomed chairs; the water bucket hanging
against the wall on a wooden peg and the gourd dipper near by, also the salt
gourd; the bedstead with canopy top, curtains below, and a trundle-bed under
it. This trundle-bed was pulled out every night and the children slept on
it. The rifle hung in a rack over the door. There was cupboard in the
corner which contained some blue-edged plates, some blue and white cups and
saucers, some tin plates with letters on them, a brown stone pitcher and
some pewter spoons. The coffee mill was nailed to the wall. You also found a
few crocks and jars.
The sop lamp was a very useful
article. It was filled with lard or grease of some kind. The wick was made
by twisting up a small piece of cotton cloth and placing it in the grease;
it was then ready to light and stick in the wall. Those who had candles,
used japanned tin candle-sticks and candle snuffers. Some families had tin
candle-moulds and moulded their own candles from tallow. Families that did
not have candle-moulds, often borrowed them.
Sometimes candles were made by
dipping wicks in melted tallow; but these candles did not give good
satisfaction. They were likely to go out and leave you in the dark; hence
the saying, "Go out like an old-fashioned dip-candle." The lantern was made
of tin with holes punched in it to let the light out. You placed one-half of
a candle in it, shut the door, and you were ready to go out in the dark.
It is claimed that Aaron Powers
brought the first cook stove in to the settlement when he came in 1839; but
all of the old settlers for many years did their cooking on the fireplace.
The women would put on their sunbonnet and pull it down over their face to
keep the fire from burning them; set the iron tea-kettle on the fire, then
put on the oven lid; and when it was hot, shovel some live coals on the
hearth, set the oven on them; put in the dough, place the lid on the oven,
then shovel some coals on fire on it; fry the meat in a long-handled
skillet; and make the coffee by setting the coffee-pot on a bed of coals on
the hearth. Coffee they did not always have. Milk was generally used during
a meal. Sometimes they had Orleans or sugar-house molasses, but these were
only used on special occasions.
It has been said that some of the
storekeepers only kept one barrel of molasses, tapped each end of the
barrel, and sold Orleans from end and sugar-house from the other end.
There was nearly always a few
bunches of yarn hanging on the wall in these cabins, it being the amount
left over after weaving the jeans, linsey and blankets, and was used for
stockings and socks. There were four cuts in each hank, and one hundred and
twenty threads in each cut. Often the only books found in a house were
Webster's Spelling Book, Aesop's Fables, the family bible, a hymn book and
an almanac. These almanacs had Negro pictures in them and were on the comic
order; they cost from ten to twelve and half cents each.
The farmers had a breaking-plow, a
one-horse "diamond" plow, and a single-shovel plow. After breaking up the
ground in the spring, they marked it off both ways with the shovel plow for
planting corn. The corn was dropped mostly by the girls and boys by hand
from a small basket and then covered with hoes. These hoes were heavy and
had an eye in them in which the handles were fastened. When the corn was
weedy, they ploughed it with the one-horse diamond plow, running the bar
next to the corn, then finishing with the shovel plow.
The small grain was sown by hand, covered
with a heavy "A" harrow or brushed in, was cut with a cradle and bound by
hand. The threshing was sometimes done on a floor with a flail or tramped
out with horses; later, by eight or ten-horse power threshers. The straw was
dragged away from the tail of the machine by a horse hitched to a rail or
pole, after which the straw was burned to get rid of it.
Occasionally a farmer would raise
flax. This when ripe was pulled, stacked down, rotted, then broken with a
flax-break, scutched, hackeled, spun and twisted into hanks. It was then
woven into material for towels, table-clothes, ticking, and for various
Many farmers kept sheep and did
their own shearing. The women picked the wool, carded it with hand cards
into rolls, spun and wove it into flannel, linsey, and jeans.
The men wore brown or blue jeans
clothing-pants made with a flap in front, knit-yarn suspenders, and
sometimes a coonskin cap. They also wore heavy cowhide boots or shoes. Over
shoes were unknown at that time. The first overshoes that appeared were made
from buffalo hides and were large and clumsy. They attracted considerable
attention and were the talk of the neighborhood.
Some of the early settlers would
buy leather and take it to the shoemaker who would measure the fee of the
entire family and agree to make the shoes and have them done at a certain
time. In this the shoemaker often failed and some of the family would have