History of Marion, Il.
From: Encyclopedia of Illinois
and the History of Lee County
Edited by: Mr. A. C. Bardwell.
Munsell Publishing Company
Chicago 1904.


MARION TOWNSHIP.

At the September session. 1854. of the Board of Supervisors, the north half of Town 20, Range 9, which had belonged to Amboy Township, the south half of Town 20, Range 9. and all of Town 20. Range S. which had belonged to Hamilton Township. were set off as a town called Marion. to take effect from the first Tuesday in April. 1S55. At the March meeting, 1867, the town of Harmon was created. leaving Marion a simple Government township, as it now exists. The first Supervisor of the new town was Alford Wolcot: Assessor. Sherman W. Caldwell; Justices of the Peace. Abram Morrison and A. S. Phillip: Town Clerk. Simon Dykman: Collector. David Morrison.

The first permanent settler in the town was David Welty. who came. as did many others. in pursuit of health. Starting from Buffalo, N. Y., in 1838, on a thorough-bred mare presented to him by a friend, he made the entire distance to Dixon’s Ferry on horseback. His wife and son. John M., with Mr. and Mrs. Scott, her father and mother, reached Chicago by way of the lakes, and thence by stage to Dixon the next year. In 1840 he preempted land on Sections 34 and 35, Town 20, Range 9. Mr. Welty soon built a double log-house on the stage road leading from Peoria to Dixon. The lumber for the doors, window sash, floors. shIngles. etc., was hauled from Chicago by team. He was considered wealthy, as riches were rated at that early date, while both he and his wife were educated and refined people who had been reared under the advantageous conditions afforded by the city of Buffalo, the home from which they emigrated. The floors of their log house were covered with velvet and Brussells carpets and costly rugs. The furniture was of mahogany and walnut, all brought from the East. The son, John M., writes: “The contrast between the log house and its belongings was so great, as to excite the wonder and admiration of strangers from the East who chanced to alight from the stages and enter our pioneer home. There were, for many years, only three houses between Dixon and Princeton. one at Dad Jo’s Grove. one on the south side of Palestine Grove and the other in which we lived.”

Near by was Green River. then known as Inlet Creek. which flowed through Mr. Welty’s land, and here was. for many years. the only bridge across that stream. This bridge and a turnpike through the swamps were constructed under an a.ct of the Legislature, approved February 19. 1839, granting authority to Henry W. Cleaveland to “erect a toll bridge across Green River and a causeway across the Winnebago Swamp, at or near the same.” An act. approved February 3. 1843, provides for the selection of three inspectors to examine the work, and refers to it as located in Lee County. and requires their report to be filed in the office of the Clerk of that county. One toll gate was near the Welty house. The log house soon became an inn, where the traveling public were both fed and lodged. Although there was no other house in the settlement, it acquired the name of Scottville, by which it was for some time known. It may be that this was adopted out of regard for Gen, Scott, or was simply the use of the name of the old people. Mrs. Welty’s father and mother,

With Mr. Welty came A. L, Porter, who settled in Dixon and was at one time Sheriff of the county. Contemporaneous with the coming of Mr. Welty to the township, was that of W. H. Blair, who located on Section 24. In 1841 J. C. Haley located on Section 13. In 1846 H. Scott settled on Section 15. George Keith arrived in 1861-62: Benjamin Brooks. long identified with the township, in 1856 bought the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 9. and soon became a resident, John R. Hawkins was an early settler, but in what year we are unable to ascertain. In 1856 Franklin H. Church settled on Section 2.

May 4, 1878, "Walton" or "Town of Walton" was platted on land of Price Jones. Marion Township had a population in 1890 of 750, and in 1900 of 741, as shown by Government census.


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