Chesterfield township is situated in the western tier of townships, and is bounded on the north by Western Mound.
on the east by Polk, on the south by Shipman and on the west by Jersey county. Macoupin creek enters the township
at section 25, and flowing in a northwesterly direction passes out at section 6. Coop's creek empties into it near
the center of the township and Sugar creek empties into it near the east line. It is mostly prairie land but some
parts are quite broken.
The first settlement in the township dates back as early as 1827 and at this time was settled mostly by English
emigrants. From that time until 1829, there came here from Kentucky. Abram and Richard Smith. Bennett Tilley and
George Nettles, all of whom settled north of the creek a short distance from where the village of Chesterfield
now stands. In 1831, John, Henry. Samuel, Jesse. Jacob and Josiah Rhoads, six brothers, with their families, settled
in the southwestern part of the township at what was known as Rhoads' Point, the present site of Medora. About
this same time John Loper settled here on section 21. John Gelder also came with his family in 1831 and settled
on section 10. Others of the early settlers were Daniel and Thomas Morfoot, of English birth, Josiah Collins and
family. John Reddick and family and Lewis Elliott.
The year 1833 witnessed the arrival of Rev. Gideon Blackburn, W. H. Carson, G. B. Carson, John Carson and James
Carson in the township. The former located on Macoupin creek on section 21 and became the founder of Blackburn
University, now known as Blackburn College, at Carlinville. The Carson brothers settled on section 32, a little
south of the settlement made by Rev. Blackburn.
Jesse and Bird Peebles came here in 1834, from Kentucky.
P. B. Solomon came to Macoupin county from Kentucky in 1827, and a few years later became a resident of Chesterfield
township. He was at one time postmaster in the village of Chesterfield.
Horace J. Loomis, a native of New York, became a resident of the township in 1838.
William Duckles and wife came here in 1834 from Yorkshire, England, and established a home on section 11. Other
early settlers were: John Richardson, who settled on section 22, in 1831; John Armour, who came here from Kentucky
in 1828; P. R. Gillespie, who settled on section 24, in the year 1823; J. H. Williams, who came in 1837; J. R.
Cundall, who located on section 9 in the year 1834; and Nicholas Challacombe, who came here from Devonshire, England
in 1840. settling on section 21. He became a prominent farmer and stock raiser.
The first entries of land were made as follows: Jacob Rhoads, eighty acres on section 8, in 1830; Jesse Rhoads,
eighty acres on section 28, in the same year; and Daniel Morfoot, eighty acres on section 9, in 1830.
The first sermons in this district were delivered to the settlers north of the creek by Baptist ministers by the
name of Samuel Lair and Joseph Pierce. This was in 1829. Jacob and John Rhoads preached about the same time at
Rhoads' Point. Rev. Gideon Blackburn, a Presbyterian minister, preached in the settlements south of the creek in
1833 and 1834. In the latter year he organized the first Presbyterian society in this locality and in the same
year a house of worship was built on the creek, which was known as Spring Cove church. It was a very small structure
constructed of poles set in the ground for the frame work and the sides and roof were made of clapboards. It was
seated with puncheon benches. A little later the Baptists erected a similar structure at Rhoads' Point.
The first school was organized in 1834 at the Spring Cove church and the first schoolhouse was located on section
32. It was fourteen feet square, built of logs and had a dirt floor. The first teacher was a Mr. Anderson.
Dr. Henry Rhoads began the practice of medicine at Rhoads' Point in 1831 and was followed in 1833 by Dr. Coward.
In 1831 the first mill was erected here by Peter Etter. It was located on section 6 and was a small one horse
cog wheel mill, used for grinding and cracking the corn. In this mill the owner was later murdered by one Sweeney,
which was the first crime committed in the township.
A mill used for cracking corn was built on the Blackburn farm on section 21 and John Rhoads also built a similar
mill on section 31, at Rhoads' Point. Another was built in 1833 by a Mr. Marshall.
In 1838, Horace Loomis, Sr., emigrated to this locality from New York and settled on a farm of three hundred acres,
located two miles east of Chesterfield. He established here the first cheese factory, which proved a profitable
enterprise. He kept as high as one hundred and seventy cows, and shipped his product to the Alton and St. Louis
markets. He died here in 1851.
Captain Gelder brought the first Durham cattle here in 1864 and he it was who first introduced the imported English
broad back hogs.
This village is located in the northeastern part of the township on section 2, and was laid out by Jesse Peebles
and Aaron Tilley in 1836.
That year Joseph Batchelor established the first store in the village. Z. B. Lawson, John Vial, W. Lee and Jesse
Peebles were also some of the first business men in this place.
Two years prior to the platting of the town, a log schoolhouse was built and the first teacher was a man by the
name of Dooner.
In 1864, Messrs. Penn, Rogers and Padget erected a steam flour mill in the place and previous to this time W. B.
Loomis erected a mill two miles east of the village.
The town of Medora is located in the extreme southwest corner of the township, with a small portion lying on
section 6, of Shipman township. It is situated on the line of the Rock Island division of the Chicago, Burlington
& Quincy railroad, which runs throug the town and out of the county about a mile northwest of the place. The
village was laid out by Thomas B Rice and surveyed by T. R. McKee in 1859. Prior to this time the place was known
as Rhoads' Point.
Medora lies south of Summerville. It is one of the best built and prettiest villages in the county. The citizens
of Medora have every incentive to make them proud of their town. The business houses are modern and tasteful in
design and the school building, campus and other surroundings are preeminently artistic in design and pleasing
to the eye. The early history of Medora is written, and that by a master hand. In 1910, Lyman L. Palmer wrote a
series of articles, were published in the Medora Messenger, running several months. No one, who settled in this
vicinity, has been overlooked by Mr. Palmer and the history of Medora is told in a concise and illuminating manner.
In the fall of 1897 the whole business section of Medora was destroyed by fire. The citizens were not at all discouraged
by the disaster and at once began to rebuild. The present beautiful city is the result. The village, however, is
not as large as it was twenty years ago. In 1890, the population was 1,498. It is now 1,386.
This is but a hamlet of a very few houses, but at one time was a place of some importance, especially, to the
early settlers. In his reminiscences of early days, Lyman L. Palmer writes voluminously and most entertainingly
of this village and those who settled in and near it, and therefore the reader is referred to Mr. Palmer's articles
in this volume.