History of Moro Township, Madison County,
From: Centennial History of Madison County, Illinois and its People
Edited and Compiled by W. T. Norton, Alton
Associate Editors: Hon. N. G. Flagg, Moro
J. S. Joerner, Highland
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1912
By authority of W. S. Palmer, brother of Gov. John M. Palmer, in a letter dated 1903, the earliest settler of this township was one Zenas Webster. He came in 1820 to section 34, and built a cabin on the east side of the "Springfield road," on the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter section 1, and lived here until at least 1833, probably later. A Mr. Branstetter was Moro's second settler. In 1828 came Thomas Wood and Thomas Luman. The former, a Kentuckian, settled in the southeast quarter of section 10, on the Springfield road, and married Jane Tolon. Mr. Luman made his home in section 19, near Rocky Branch; he died in 1832 and his widow married John Norton of Macoupin county. A son of Maj. Solomon Preuitt (an early resident of Wood River and Fort Russell), Abraham Preuitt, came in 1830 to section 8 and was a lifelong resident of that locality, raising a large family. Joseph Hughes came in the same year to section 18.
THE PALMERS AND OTHERS
Much of the interest in early Moro days centers around the fact that Gov. John M. Palmer was a resident of this
township in his boyhood days. His father Louis D. Palmer, a Kentuckian, brought his family to section 28 in the
year 1831, when the future major general, United States senator, and governor of Illinois was fourteen years of
age. Another son, Elihu Palmer, was a Baptist minister, and conducted the first preaching service in this community,
at the home of Zenas Webster. The Palmer home remained here in section 28 until r844. The farm is now (1912) owned
by William E. Cooper. The Sanner family came in 1833, from Pennsylvania, accompanied by the Lathy family; to the
latter family belonged Dr. Henry Kent Lathy, later of Upper Alton. Samuel Sanner owned a large farm in sections
26 and 27, and removed in 1866 to Shelby county.
The five eldest sons of Maj. Solomon Preuitt were old settlers of Moro township - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Martin and James. Abraham has been mentioned above. Isaac came to section 7 in 1834; Jacob to section 17 in 1835; Martin settled the William Butcher place in section 7 in 1839, but later moved to Macoupin county; and James, father of Elias K. Preuitt, came to section 17 about 1840. Buford T. Yager, a native of Virginia and later a resident of Kentucky, where he married Juda Wilhite, settled in section 30 in 1834. The following year Fleming Heustis, a native of New York state, came to section 15, and his brother Benjamin came soon after, entering 16o acres in section 22. The former died in 1876, the latter in 1880. Other families coming here in the thirties and forties were the Coopers (English), F. Myer (German), Hornsbys, McKinney and Campbell. Carl Engelke and Ludwig Pape settled in the southeast part of Moro township about 1850, and C. H. Hatcher, a Kentuckian, came to the Ridgely settlement in 1856.
NATURAL FEATURES AND TOWNS
Indian creek is the main stream in Moro township, running north and south from section 3 to 33, through the
center of the township, and having in its bottom lands some quite fertile fields. In the eastern portion, Paddock's
creek drains quite a large territory, and is seldom subject to serious overflow. Valuable coal fields lie beneath
the surface some eighty to one hundred feet, and will prove a great resource when developed. Considerable attention
is paid to dairying, as there are good facilities for shipping milk daily from two stations within the township.
Wheat, corn, and live stock are the staple products, and there are a few fine apple and peat orchards.
CHURCHES AND SCHOOL HOUSES
The township of Moro is well supplied with churches and school houses. The Ridgely Christian church, one of the oldest congregations in Madison county, holds services at stated intervals, although far removed in the country; there was once a Methodist congregation at Ridgely but the church was finally abandoned. There are two very large German church societies in the township, one northwest of Dorsey, the other in the south central part, in section 34 (very near the spot first settled in the township by Z. Webster). Five schoolhouses are found in Moro, one of them a two room building near the village of Moro, one just west of Dorsey, one at "Yorkville" in section 26, the "Oak Grove" school in section to, and the fifth in section 4, almost on the Macoupin county line. About 1840 and later there stood a school house on the Joseph Cooper farm, about four miles south of Ridgely, on the west side of the Springfield road, where many of the early settlers sent their children, from distances of three or four miles. From a historical point of view, considerable interest attaches to the pioneer settlement of "Ridgely," in section 22, at which was once a postoffice and store and which was one of the stations of the Springfield-St. Louis stagecoach in its tri weekly trips. Richard O'Bannon seems to have been the leading citizen of Ridgely a half century ago.
STATISTICS AND GOVERNMENT
In 1860 this township had 88o inhabitants; by United States census, with a real estate valuation of $286,000,
and a personal property valuation of $123,000. In 1910 the census returns give 907 population; and the assessment
of the township in 1911 (total except railroads, etc.) at a one third valuation, is $370,000.