History of Crittenden, Il.
From: J. S. Lothrop's Champaign County Directory
With History of the same, and Each Township Therein
Published by: Rand, McNally & Co., Printers & Binders, Chicago 1871



Is bounded on the east by Raymond, on the north by Philo, on the west by Pesotum, and on the south by Douglas county, and was taken from Philo in 1863. It lies in the very center of the richest section of the county. The Embarrass river flows through it from north to south ;. a large tributary flowing into the same also traverses the township. The character of the prairie is gently undulating, with a deep, rich, inexhaustible soil, all capable of cultivation, and producing, in rich profusion, every variety of cereals and grasses.

The first entry of land made in this township, was by J. and S. Groendyke, Feb. 1, 1836, they entering the north-west quarter of Section 23. They were not the first settlers, however, as that honor belongs to one Mr. Bouse, who settled at the bead of the timber bordering the Embarrass river, about the year 1830, and gave to the grove his name. He afterwards lived near Lynn Grove, and was engaged in stock-raising and feeding. The next settler was one George Myres, who also purchased at the north end of the grove, and engaged in stock-breeding.

Since writing the matter above, we learn that there is some dispute as to the time that Mr. Bouse settled in Ctittenden; it being contended, on the one hand, that he settled first at Lynn Grove, about the year 1833, and shortly after removed to Section 14, Crittenden, selling this farm. to Mr. Bocock; while others think that be first settled at the grove, and thence removed to Lynn Grove, in which case, it is said, he must have returned to the old farm.

Alfred Bocock, who purchased in Section 14, about the year 1850, planted the first orchard in the town. He was a stockbreeder and an agriculturist. The fruit of that orchard is said to be of rare quality, and shows that Mr. Bocock understood well the different varieties and their character, and made his selections with rare judgment, of those best fitted to this soil and climate.

It was this Mr. Bocock, also, who established the first school in the town, which was taught by one _____ Tomkins, in a small log cabin, near where the school house in the grove now stands.

This town is most admirably adapted to stock husbandry; the whole surface of the town lying with a face to the south, trayersed and drained by the streams we have before mentioned, with their numerous tributaries from the prairies, rich in cereals and grasses, presents advantages to the stock grower or fancier of the most tempting character; and it is destined ere long to become one of the points in our county, that above others will attract the attention of men of means and experience in this branch of agriculture.

There are a number of large and very fine farms within this town. Mr. J. M. Helm purchased a farm of one-half section in 1855, which he improved and still resides upon. It is most admirably located for mixed husbandry, as well as capable of being made exclusively a stock farm; a fine large barn, substantial house, an excellent orchard, fruits of all kinds, with shrubbery, hedges and fences, are among the improvements that have been put there by Mr. Helm, and which have cost him and his estimable lady a vast amount of care and hard labor, yielding, however, rich returns to gladden and comfort their advancing years.

John M. Spencer also has a fine farm in the western portion’ of the town, possessing all those advantages for which the town generally is remarkable. For a number of years past he has been engaged in the dairy business, manufacturing butter and cheese upon a large scale; and those who have had the good fortune to try the quality of the productions of his dairy, need not be informed that he has made, no failure. He is a thorough business farmer, attending to the affairs of his farm in all its details, with the prompt, energetic earnestness of a man fully appreciating the value of time, his farm giving evidence of great care and well directed labor, a model worthy of imitation.

We could not close this sketch without reference to the magnificent farm of David H. Jesse. Every one knows “Jesse” and his farm, and we remember the circumstance of losing ourself in his corn field, while traveling the county on business for “Uncle Sam.” We had run against his farm upon the east side, and finding no way into it, made one, and then drove our nag through that never-ending field, going this way and that through the rank corn, until, bewildered and lost, we took a row of corn and followed it out to daylight, which fortunately led to the place we were looking for. How much corn we broke down we did not return to ascertain. We met “Jesse” the next day with no little trepidation, but were forgiven upon full confession. The farm contains 640 acres of prairie and timber land, all improved, and well improved, the Embarrass river crossing one corner, and is one of the best stock farms in the county.

Woodson Morgan, long identified with the history of the town, came from Kentucky about the year 1857, and settled near the limits of Crittenden. Perhaps no man has done more to advance the interest of the town than he. Since the town was organized in 1863, he has held the office of Supervisor with the exception of one year, when Mr. Spencer was elected. He is now quite well advanced in years, but with mind and intellect unimpaired, his judgment showing that his past life has been one of vigorous, practical training. He has occupied the chair of the board for many years, conducting the affairs of the county with marked ability.

There are scores of others who are worthy or special notice, but space will not permit further effort in this direction.

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