History of Randolph Township, McLean County, Illinois
From: History of McLean County Illinois
By: Jacob L. Hasbrouck
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianoplis 1924

Randolph Township. - Gardner Randolph was the first white man to settle in this immediate vicinity, and for him the grove where he settled was named, and in turn gave the name to the township formed. This was a favorite resort of the Indians before the white men came, and many relics of the red men have been found by Milo Custer and others in the vicinity of Randolph Grove. Gardner Randolph reached his stopping place in December, 1823, and set up a but formed of brush, hay and the canvas cover of his wagon. Born in North Carolina, Randolph had first moved to Alabama, then to White County, Illinois, then to Sangamon County, thence to McLean. Alter this region was pretty well settled, he moved on to the west, locating in Kansas, and at last went on to California, where he died in 1866. It was a hard life indeed for the Randolph family the first year, as they had little to subsist upon, not even milk from a cow until the second year. Other settlers joined Randolph in the grove in the following two years, the Stringfieids, John Moore, Samuel Stewart, Thomas 0. Rutledge and Jesse Funk. Gardner Randolph was a religious man, an adherent of the Methodist Church, but in politics opposed to the Abolitionists. John Moore came into prominence in the early years of the county, was elected to the legislature, became lieutenant governor of the state and later state treasurer. His grave is in one of the old cemeteries of Randolph neighborhood. Jesse Funk was a sturdy stockman. He raised hogs and drove them to Galena to market. In one of these trips in the winter of '31 he was caught en route with other men in the deep snow, but they finally got out alive. He was instrumental in retaining the north tier of sections in township 2 for McLean County instead of giving them to DeWitt as was proposed when the latter county was organized. Jesse Funk was a county commissioner 1844 to 1849. Capt. John Karr, a Revolutionary war soldier, came with his sons in 1835. The Rust family, the Nobles, Stewarts and others were among the earlier settlers. Dr. Harrison Rust and Dr. A. E. Stewart were prominent citizens, soldiers, writers and farmers. Campbell Wakefield and Isaac Van Ordstrand were also early and prominent settlers. Randolph Township was famous for its mills in the early days, these using the water power of the Kickapoo Creek, which was sufficient to turn wheels about half the year. Probably the first water mill in the county was one built by Michael Dickerson, and later sold to William Hampton and Martin L. Bishop. James Hedrick put up a sawmill on the Kickapoo at the then young village of Lytleville. John Baldwin bought this mill and was really the founder of Lytleville, which was once a flourishing and ambitious village, but died out when Heyworth was started as a station on the new Illinois Central railroad, two miles away from the Lytleville site. G. Kimler and a Mr. French were other owners of early time saw mills on the Kickapoo. Rev. Ebenezer Rhodes conducted the first church in 1823. Jesse Walker, a missionary and Rev. John See, a Methodist, were also pioneer preachers.

The village of Heyworth was laid out by Campbell Wakefield Sept. 11, 1858, and incorporated in 1869. It is one of the most flourishing and up to date towns in the county, with modern homes, two banks, churches, a newspaper and other business enterprises. Heyworth has good churches. The Presbyterian congregation was organized in 1844 by Rev. Josiah Porter and has a good building and parsonage. Flourishing Methodist and Christian congregations are also in the town. Heyworth is supplied with modern grade and high schools. Heyworth's weekly newspaper is named the Heyworth Star. The paper is edited by P. A. Chapman. The town is a grain and stock shipping point. It has many good stores, two banks, elevators and lumber yards. The Illinois Central and the Illinois Traction System supply its transportation. An excellent school system includes a community high school, among the best in the county, with grade schools. A progressive Parent-Teacher association is at work. The churches of the city include the Christian, Presbyterian and Methodist. There are many lodges, numbering among them the Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias, both of which own buildings of their own; the Modern Woodmen and Royal Neighbors, Masons and Eastern Star, Pythian Sisters, Rebekahs, and Court of Honor. There is a large post of American Legion.

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