History of Omphghent 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
OMPH-GHENT TOWNSHIP (Omphghent)
FIRST EVENTS AND SETTLERS
The first death in the township was that of the wife of a squatter. The next that of the wife of Samuel Walker.
The first birth was that of Mary Swett, daughter of David Swett, The first marriage that between James Best and
Mary Tatum. The first church was built on the west side of the township in 1848. The first minister was Charles
Howard. The first school is said to date back to 1825. David Swett was the first justice of the peace. He came
to Edwardsville in 1817 and in 1820 located on a quarter section in Omph-Ghent, Matias Handlon entering eighty
acres on the same date. Swett married a niece of Thos. Tindall who came to Madison 'county from North Carolina
in 1817. Other early settlers prior to 1830, were Charles Tindall, Ezekiel Davis and Samuel H. Denton. Denton's
widow lived to be the oldest of the early settlers in the township. Parham Wall, William Hill, Benjamin Bond, Stephen
'Wilcox, Geo. W. Beaird, Robert Page, also came prior to 1830. Thos. Grant, Sr., came in 1831. His son Thomas,
Jr., married a daughter of Colonel Samuel Judy. She was born in the county in 1809. Captain Samuel Jackson located
on section 14 at an early date. Edward Butler and Darius Spruwell came in 1833. William Kell came to the county
in 1829 and entered 320 acres near where Worden now stands. One of the main avenues of Worden is named after him.
Robert Roseberry came in 1836 and Richard Sandbach from England in 1839. Fred. Handshey was the first German settler,
coming in 1833. Other early German settlers were Adam Hohe, Frank Peters, C. and J. Kuhlenberg, Fred Klein, H.
Weisman, Rev. L. Blume, F. and H. Durstman, J. C. Schaefer, Fred. Hildebrand, Fred. Leseman and H. C. Nobbe.
The village of Worden is the commercial center of Omph-Ghent township. The story of its rise is told briefly below. John Lamb, a native of Tennessee, settled in section 25 at an early day. Some of his descendants still reside in the township. A saw mill was built southwest of Lamb's improvement and a post office established called Lamb's Point. During the Civil war it was a recruiting station for the Union army. William Burley was the first postmaster at Lamb's Point and was succeeded by David Burley. In 1857 the office was moved to the home of Hampton Wall, who was the son in law of Mr. koseberry. In 1860 Mr. Wall laid out a town in section 35 and called it New Hampton. He established a store there. In 1854 John C. Worden, an Englishman, came to the county and engaged in business. In 1867 he purchased the store of Mr. Wall and his real estate holdings, and then laid out an addition north of the New Hampton plat. In 1870 the Decatur and East St. Louis railroad later the Wabash was built through the place and the name Worden was given the station in recognition of Mr. Worden's activity in furthering the interests of the company. He was a man of enterprise and ability. He was railroad agent, postmaster, deputy sheriff, by turns, and held other positions of trust. His wife was a daughter of G. S. Weaver. Some of their children still survive. The old homestead is occupied by Edward Sandbach, an opulent resident, who married a daughter of Mr. Worden.
COAL MINING INTERESTS
The opening of a coal shaft by the Worden Mining Company in 1876 was the beginning of the town's material prosperity
and has aided materially in developing it from a crossroads settlement to a village of some 1,200 inhabitants.
The country about is underlaid with a vein of coal some six to eight feet thick. The mining interests are now controlled
by two great companies, the KerensDonnawald Company and the DeCamp Company. The village has an elevator owned by
Keiser Brothers, a creamery and other industries, also the usual number of mercantile houses for a place of its
size. Worden has several miles of graniteoid sidewalks and its streets are well improved thoroughfares. While the
village is largely dependent on its mining interests it enjoys a flourishing trade with the fertile country roundabout.
It has a handsome two story city hall, built of brick, which is an ornament to the place. On the first floor is
located the private bank of Wall & Company, established in 1902. The president is William P. Wall, son of Hampton
Wall who laid. out New Hampton. The cashier is J. T. McGaughey, a genial and popular gentleman, a descendant of
one of the leading old families. Another successful financial institution which is doing much to advance the prosperity
of the town, is the Worden B. and L. Association, of which Louis Dornseif is president; Wm. Schliepsich, vice president;
and Edward Pearce, secretary. The present postmaster, who is an efficient official, is Mr. M. E. Berry. Joseph
Lamb, son of John Lamb, now eighty years old, has lived in the township seventy seven years. The first physician
to locate in Worden was Dr. H. R. Dorr. He was succeeded in practice by his son who has just completed an unique
and handsome residence. The educational interests of Worden are well provided for. It has a large two story school
house surrounded by pleasant grounds. This is a reminder that the first school treasurer of the district was Hampton
Wall, a gentleman prominent in the business life of Madison and Macoupin counties for a generation. There are four
churches in Worden, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Christian. The Baptist church building is the oldest. It was
built about 1850 and stood originally in the cemetery, a half mile north of town. It was later moved into the village
to its present site, a case of the church coming to the people instead of the reverse.
Prairie City is a pleasant settlement in section 18, on the line of Moro township, and at the crossing of two main county roads. The first settler was Maurice Hartnett. It was platted in 1858 by L. L. Dorsey. A Lutheran church was built in 1863 followed by a more pretentious one in 1874, costing $11,000. The village has a beautiful location, a good country trade, and is surrounded by fertile farms tilled by an industrious and progressive people.
GENERAL TOWNSHIP MATTERS
Omph-Ghent is almost entirely an agricultural township save for its mining interests. It has many fine farms
and attractive suburban homesteads evolved from the wilderness. It has, in addition to the churches named, Mt.
Zion Methodist church, South. The township is represented on the county board by supervisor William Zerges. The
first supervisor was James Kell, 1876-8. He was succeeded by W. F. Kell. James Kell was the son of William Kell
who came to Madison county from North Carolina in 1829.