History of Dorchester Township, Macoupin County, Il
From: History of Macoupin County Illinois
Hon. Charles A. Walker, Supervising Editor
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1911


Dorchester township is bounded on the north by Gillespie, on the east by Staunton, on the south by Madison county and on the west by Bunker Hill township. The district is drained by Cahokia creek and the west fork of Cahokia and its tributaries, which runs through the central portion from north to south.

In former years the land along these streams was heavily timbered but much of it has been cut off for fencing and for other purposes. It is a rich farming district. The first settler in this township was a Mr. Williams. who came here in the latter part of the year 1818. He was a "squatter" and it is knot certain that he ever owned any land here. He removed to Missouri in 1833.

The first land entries were: October 9, 1820, eighty acres on section 24, by Richard Wilhelm; March 11, 1829, forty acres on section 11, by Charles G. Spence; January 2J, 1830, Telemachus Camp.

At first the settlers sought land in the edge of the timber but after a time they began to push out on the prairies. In 1829 the following people came to the township: William McKinley, who settled on section 11; Thomas Grant. section 35; John Funderburk, section 23.

In 1830 came Valentine Sawyer. who located on section 13: William Davis. section 22; Abraham Smith, section 34.

The year 1831 witnessed the arrival here of Daniel B. Sawyer, who located on section 10, while in 1832 he was followed by Thomas Hart, who settled on
section 23. In 1833, Abraham Isaacs, made a permanent settlement on section ?; in 1834, John Walker, located on section 16; in 1835, Joseph Walker on section 35; Cleveland Walker on section 5; in 1836, David Bentley on section 27; and in 1837 Dana R. Hayden located on section 4, while William Purdy settled on section 23.

The first birth was a child born to Mr. and Mrs. Telemachus Camp, in 1820. John A. Funderburk performed the first marriage ceremony, when he united Daniel B. Sawyer and Miss Minerva Scroggins.

The first deaths in the township were two children of Telemachus Camp from the years 1824 to 1826. They were buried on his farm, which was the beginning of the first cemetery in the township. Later others were buried on his farm, twelve or fourteen in all.

The first sermon was preached in Mr. Camp's home in 1829 by a traveling missionary of the Baptist denomination. Peter Long was instrumental in organizing the first Baptist church here in 1836. The first church to be erected was by the Christian denomination at Round prairie, on section 32, in the year 1852. The first ministers were Robert Foster and Jonathan G. Wood. The first Sunday school was organized in 1870 and was held in a schoolhouse.

The first mill in the township was operated by horse power and erected on section 7 by Valentine Sawyer. Every one who came to mill did his own grinding, giving in payment one eighth of the grain.

The first schoolhouse was built in 1839 on the southeast quarter of section it It was built of logs. The first teacher was Jeremiah Wilcox.

The first postoffice was kept at Dorchester by William T. Keas.

The first steam sawmill was erected in 1850 on section 24.

The first blooded cattle brought into the township was by Henry Bowers.

In 1855-56 the Indianapolis & St. Louis railroad built their line through the northwest portion of the township. thereby furnishing facilities for the shipment of grain and produce.


The village of Dorchester is located on sections 4 and 5 of Dorchester township, and sections 32 and 33. Gillespie township. It took its name from Dorchester Heights and the township later took the same name.

Alonzo Cutler was the original proprietor of the village and it was through his efforts that a railroad station was established at this place. In 1859 Fletcher H. Chapman made the survey. In the spring of 1861 was laid out P. R. Hayden's addition on the southeast side of the village. In 1866 Hayden's second addition was laid out. A depot was built in the spring of 1861 and about the same time William Whitfield erected a building which he used for a dwelling and a store. In the summer of 1860 Mr. Hayden built 'a side track on the south side of the railroad and put up a small warehouse for grain. He rented this building to B. F. Williamson but in the spring of 1861 took possession of it himself.

The first hotel in the town was built in 1866 by Thomas Potts.

The first marriage was that of a Mr. Duncan and Miss S. Grant.

A Methodist church was erected in 1868 and the first preacher was Rev. Morris.

A Christian church was erected in 1874 and the first minister was Rev. David Davis. Prior to the erection of these houses of worship union services were held in a hall owned by P. R. Hayden.

The first schoolhouse was built in 1869 and the first teacher was James Ayres.

Dorchester is now a village of 102 inhabitants. The town is situated on the line between Dorchester and Gillespie townships and the people are equally divided between the two of them.

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