History of New Douglas, Township, Madison County, Il
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


New Douglas, township 6, range 5, is one of the smallest townships in the county, Alton and Venice, only, having less territory. It was robbed of its heritage in 1843 when the legislature clipped twelve sections from its eastern side and attached them to Bond county, denuding Leef township, at the same time, of six sections. This left New Douglas with an area of only 15,967 acres. The topography of the township is a level plain, slightly undulating. New Douglas was settled a little later in the century than the majority of the townships and increased less rapidly in population, but it secured a sterling and upright citizenship that any community might be proud of.


Brink's History says: "The first settler of New Douglas was David Funderburk, who located in section 7 in 1819. He taught school there in 1823 the children coming from adjacent townships. Other early settlers were Robert Greening, who came in 1839; Cornelius Wood, Amos Holbrook, John L. Carlock, 1831; Abram Allen, Samuel Sutton, Nelson Sparks, Jackson Allen, 1837; John P. Lindley, 1840; William Embrey, 1845; M. R. Early, 1848; John A. Early, 1854; John Kelly, 1856. The first birth was that of John Funderburk, son of David Funderburk, September 3, 1822; first death that of Mary Funderburk, May 7, 1838; first marriage that of Aaron Voyles and Sarah Funderburk, 1834; the first sermon was preached in 1827 at the house of David Funderburk, by a Baptist missionary; the first Methodist church was organized in 1832 at the house of John Carlock."

Oliver Foster and his son Alonzo came to the county in 1819. They settled in what is now Fosterburg township and the family gave it their name. In 1857 Alonzo Foster moved into township 6, range 5 and laid out the town of New Douglas in section 16. The settlement was not incorporated until Dec. 16, 1874, as recorded by the secretary of state, but the local record gives Jan 18, 1875, as the date. The charter was issued September 18, 1901. The first store was erected in 1860 by Costen Sawyer and the second in 1863 by Dr. W. F. Rubottom. A post office was established in 1863. The village was named New Douglas by the founder, A. Foster, in honor of Senator S. A. Douglas, of whom he was a devoted adherent. The village is well provided with ecclesiastical privileges having six churches: Methodist Soutb, erected in 1867, Baptist in 1869, Catholic in 1870, Lutheran in 1874, Methodist North in 1877 and Christian in 1878.


The most exciting and tragic incident in the history of New Douglas was the frightful tornado of Feb. 27, 1876. It swept through the township from southwest to northeast. It passed through the west part of the village destroying eleven dwellings, two churches, a school house and Masonic hall. The churches destroyed were the M. E. church South and the Lutheran. Services were in progress when the M. E. church was demolished. Many persons were injured and a local preacher, Henry C. Young, was killed. Five persons in Masonic hall were injured, Robert Alsop most severely. The storm struck a funeral cortege overturning and scattering the vehicles. Several women saw the storm approaching and hastened into an adjacent house. The dwelling was blown down and all the inmates injured. One woman had a babe killed in her arms. In the spring of 1912 another tornado passed over New Douglas but did little damage except clipping the roof and part of the upper story from the flouring mill and demolishing a school house in Hickory Grove three miles south of the village.

The Toledo, St. L. & W. railroad traverses New Douglas township and the Illinois Central passes through. Olive township within a mile of the western boundary of New Douglas. The population of the township in 1890 was 1,024; in 1900, 931; in 1910, 948.


New Douglas village had 555 inhabitants in 1890; 469 in 1900 and 499 in 1910. It is now over 500. The village is pleasantly located in the midst of a broad prairie and is so embowered in trees that it appears like an oasis in a desert. The early settlers of New Douglas were tree planters and the fruitage of their labors is seen today in well-shaded streets, groves, parks and private grounds. The main street of the village is a broad boulevard, a mile or more long, shaded with giant maples. The avenue extends from the station to the northern limits of the village. A fine concrete sidewalk is laid the entire length and the residence streets are also provided with good pavements. The village has a beautiful park, equipped with a band stand, and there is another splendid grove of maple trees which was donated to the "Old Settlers' Picnic and Reunion Association," at a nominal price by the late John Voluntine, who set out the grove thirty years ago.


The Association is composed of old settlers, of Madison, Bond, Macoupin and Montgomery counties. It was organized some seventeen years ago for the purpose of preserving the memories of old times. It was incorporated in 1900 and holds annual reunions in its beautiful grove. The present president is Edward W. Jones who is the grandson of Rev. William Jones, who came to Madison county in 1806 and was a member of the first territorial legislature in 1812. The secretary and treasurer is Prof. L. T. Kennedy, a veteran educator, who taught school for forty years, thirty-four of them in Madison county. He taught five years in Olive, fourteen in New Douglas, one in Saline, one in Godfrey and thirteen in Venice, a longer period of service than that of any other teacher in the county unless, perhaps, that of Prof. R. A. Haight of Alton. Prof. Kennedy's record is that of a noble and useful life. The directors of the association for Madison county are E. W. Jones and J. T. Lowry. John Voluntine, a distinguished old resident, was the first president. He died in 1902. Others who have filled the chair since then are Dr. B. H. McKinney, Rodo Lotasky, John Gehrig and Abram Allen. Dr. McKinney is an eminent physician, now retired from active practice. He is the oldest citizen, in continuous residence, in the village. He was born in Kentucky in 1841. Among those from Madison county who were members of the association in 1900 were, W. R. Bunn, Wesley Reaves, Wm. McMullen, Franklin Jones, Aug. Overbeck, Rudolph Kaufmann, George and Perry Baxter, W. P. Binney, Thos. Kelly, Katherine Bilyeu (who was then 93 years old), Jacob Gehrig, C. C. Buckley, and D. M. Bishop. Some of these have passed over; others are still living.

Among the members in 1911 were: D. W. Ferris, Daniel Ferguson, B. H. McKinney, Henry Ferguson, Dr. P. S. Weideman, J. F. Long, I. A. Olive, R. L. Lowry, M. B. Pearce, E. W. Jones, Henry Fangenroth, J. T. Lowry, J. W. Miller, Edwin Wood, James Pack, J. W. Rockwell, Henry Schraff, F. Oswald, Ben. Bassett, N. G. Flagg, Carol Coalson, R. P. Owens, T. W. Isaacs.

J. A. Olive, the leading hardware merchant and a most estimable citizen is a member of the prominent family of that name in Olive township from whence he removed to New Douglas. His grandfather Abel Olive, came to Madison county in 1818. Among. Mr. I. A. Olive's family heirlooms is a copy of Cruden's Concordance, printed in London 13o years ago, which belonged to his great grandfather.

J. W. Foster, another valued citizen, still resides in the old homestead, erected by his father the founder of the village. His residence is one of the finest in the town. Willis McGilvery a venerable gentleman, who has passed his four score years, is still living on the land he originally entered perhaps the only such instance in the county. He holds what the old settlers called a "buckskin" title thereto (parchment) direct from the government.


Although New Douglas township raises all the leading agricultural staples it is essentially a stock raising and dairying country. An average of Soo cans, 4,000 gallons, of milk are shipped every morning from the station. From six to ten o'clock the streets of New Douglas are crowded with teams from the country bringing in the lacteal fluid. After shipping their milk the farmers do their trading and that is when the merchants transact the bulk of their business. During the remainder of the day they can indulge in a siesta if they choose. New Douglas has a bank, several large stores and a flouring mill with a capacity of 30o barrels per day. New Douglas village is proud of its educational facilities. It has a handsome two story brick school house employing four teachers.

E. W. Bunn, a native of the township, and a genial gentleman, is the present president of the village board. He conducts a drug store. He discharges the duties of his civic office with efficiency and to the best interests of the community. He is the son of W. R. Bunn, who came to New Douglas in 1856, and, at the age of 77, still conducts a mercantile business. The trustees of the village, in addition to Mr. Bunn, are William Krah, E. A. Hoyer, John Trauernicht, Louis Shallenberg, Henry Rosenthal and V. Bassett. Henry Ullrich is clerk. Robert Livingston is the popular postmaster. His brother holds the corresponding position at Livingston in Olive township.


Among the native born citizens of New Douglas, Who have gone abroad and reflect fame on the township, is Hon. William P. Early, a leading lawyer of Edwardsville, who has served two terms as judge of the county court with eminent ability.

Following is the list of supervisors of the township from the establishment of township organization to the present time.

Andrew Jackson 1876-7; Abram Allen, 1878; Martin Jones, 1879; Jos. F. Long, 188o83; D. A. Quick, 1884; A. Trauernicht, 1885; Franklin Jones, 1886; A. J. Trauernicht, 1887; Jos. F. Long, 1888-91; James McMullen, 1892; Jos. F. Long, 1892-96; R. F. Livesey, 1896-7; Jos. F. Long, 1898-9; John Camp, 1900-1904; R. W. Livingston, 1906o8; H. E. Deck, 1910-12.

Supervisor Deck the present able incumbent, is descended from one of the old and honored families of the township. The township clerk is Harry McNeely.

John Camp, who served the township faithfully in this capacity for three terms, was formerly the editor of the New Douglas World. After doing good service for the village and township he removed his office to Staunton and has no successor in New Douglas. Jos. F. Long, it will be noticed by the above list, served longer as supervisor than any other citizen of the township. He also served as a member of the State Board of Equalization from 1892 to 1900.

Return to [ Illinois History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ] [ Illinois Biographies ]

Illinois Counties at this web site - Adams - Carroll - Champaign - Cook - De Kalb - Du Page - Edgar - Kane - LaSalle - Lee - Logan - Macoupin - Madison - Mason - McHenry - McLean - Stark - Stephenson - Vermilion - Will

Also see the local histories for [ CT ] [ IA ] [ IL ] [ IN ] [ KS ] [ ME ] [ MO ] [ MI ] [ NE ] [ NJ ] [ NY ] [ PA ] [ OH ] [ PA ] [ WI ]

All pages copyright 2003-2013. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy