History of Martin Township, McLean County, Illinois
From: History of McLean County Illinois
By: Jacob L. Hasbrouck
Historical Publishing Company
Martin Township. - This township took its name from Dr. E. Martin, of Bloomington, who owned a tract of 1,700
acres in the township. The land is largely prairie, with originally about 1,040 acres of timber. The Mackinaw River
runs west along the northern tier of sections, and here most of the timber is located. One grove was known many
years as Funk's Bunch, being on a tract of 1,000 acres which Isaac Funk owned. It was later sold to Peter Harpole
and the timber became known as Harpole's Grove. William and L. R. Wiley, brothers, bought land near the Mackinaw
in 1835, partly located in Lawndale and some of it in Martin Township. Curtis Batterton came about 1837, both he
and the Wileys being from Kentucky. Martin Batterton bought land on the north side of the Mackinaw in Lawndale
Township. The Batterton and Wileys were hunters and spent much time in trying to exterminate the wolves which prayed
on the stock. Deer were found in the vicinity as late as 1865. When the rush for prairie land was on from 1865
to 1870, most of the tracts in Martin Township were taken up. Martin long sought to secure a railroad when the
new lines were being platted across this part of the state. It failed in the effort to get the extension of the
Wabash south from Forrest, for the line was built through Gibson to Decatur. But the Clinton, Bloomington &
Southwestern, now known as the Kankakee branch of the Illinois Central, was built from the northeast into the township
and for two years had its terminus at the new town of Colfax. This town boomed at first, being platted on W. G.
Anderson's land. A coal mine was soon started and continued in operation for many years, but finally discontinued.
It was 200 feet deep and had a two foot vein.