Erin township originally comprised not only its present area but, in addition, the township of Kent, to the
west, which was subdivided from Erin on March 17, 1835. It was a strange freak of the logic of events that the
blow which severed Kent from Erin and left the latter deprived of the superior wood and water advantages formerly
enjoyed, should have fallen at a meeting of the board of supervisors which was convened on St. Patrick's day. For
Erin township, as its name implies, was settled largely by Irish farmers, and the village of Dublin in the western
part of the township contains one of the two country Catholic churches of the county.
About 1835 the first settlements were made in that part of the county which is at present Erin Township. The settlers
were Hibernians from the "Gould sod." by name Bartholomew Doyle and Michael Murphey. Both of them settled
in the range at present known as "Dublin Settlement," the former on the site of St. Mary's Church of
the Mound, and the latter about a mile away from that spot. Their nearest neighbors were the settlers in the western
part of the township, which has since become Kent, Among these were the Timms family, the Willets and various others
who are mentioned in the history of Kent township.
For about two years the settlers were few and far between, In 1837 Valorus Thomas arrived and settled about four
miles away from Dublin settlement, on the line between Harlem and Erin townships. In the same year came Ebenezer
Mulnix, and a Mr. Helm, who settled near Thomas, Bartholomew Doyle remained on his farm long enough to improve
the land and donate three acres for the erection of St. Mary's Church, Then he moved west about half a mile, into
Kent township, sold his old farm to one Robert Franey, and began the opening and improvement of a new grange,
Between 1837 and 1840, a goodly number of emigrants came to Erin township, with a large preponderence of the Irish
element among them, The large part of Dublin settlement did not come until about 1842, but some of the forerunners
came earlier, Among the newcomers, about 1839, were James Fowler, John Fiddler, John B, Kaufmann, Peter Van Sickle,
George W, Babbitt, Jonas Pickard, Palmer Pickard, Lewis Grigsby, F, Rosenstiel, and their families,
In 1840, there was another large inroad, including, among others, Reuben Tower, William Schermerhorn, John Lloyd,
Frederick Gossmann, John Hammond, Nathan Ferry, E, H, Woodbridge and a number of people whose names are lost to
us, Amos Davis, who had settled at Scioto Hills in 1837. moved west into Erin township about 1840 or a little later,
In 1842, Dublin settlement began to grow very rapidly. Andrew and George Cavanaugh came in that year, also Andrew
Farrell, Dennis Maher, who settled in section 29, John McNamara, Patrick Brown and many more. None of the newcomers
were more warmly welcomed than the wife and family of a man named Bums. They had come by wagon train, and when
crossing the Rock River at Dixon, the bridge collapsed, and all were hurled to the depths below. In the havoc which
ensued, a number of the unfortunates were drowned, among them Mr. Burns and his son, Mrs. Bums and the rest of
her family were fortunate enough to escape, and instead of remaining about the spot where the calamity had occurred
and spending her time in vain lamentations, she pushed on to the destination at which her husband had been aiming.
Here she arrived safely some time later and was warmly welcomed by the settlers.
The first birth in the Irish settlement occurred in 1843, when a son was born to George Cavanaugh. In the next
year, the first marriage was solemnized by the Catholic priest, Robert Cavanaugh and Bridget Maher were the happy
couple, In December, 1845, the first known death is said to have taken place, One Mr. Gillis, who was taken sick
in the autumn of that year, died, according to tradition, from lack of proper care and treatment, He was buried
in the grove on Burns' Branch, the first recorded burial of the township.
St, Mary's Church of the Mound, the first Catholic church built in the county, according to some, was put up by
the Dublin settlers in 1836, This seems highly improbable, but such is the tradition, There has always been more
or less of a controversy between the Catholic parishioners of Dublin and Irish Grove, each parish asserting that
its church was the earliest of the county. It is quite impossible to decide the controversy, for records have been
so meagerly preserved. The "Golden Jubilee" souvenir, issued by the congregation of St. Mary's of Freeport
during the Golden Jubilee Celebration of 1896, does not attempt to take part in the dispute, but merely states
the dates of the founding of the parishes with resident priests, According to this, Dublin settlement has the advantage
of a few years. It was attended by priests from Galena until 1843, when Father Derwin, appointed by the bishop
of St. Louis, became the first resident priest, also doing service at the Irish Grove settlement in Rock Run township.
The Irish Grove church was certainly erected in 1838, the Dublin church within a year of that time, Consequently
we can approximate the time of building and find that it was very early in the annals of Stephenson county, Once
the church was built, there was something to draw Irish settlers to the vicinity, and to this day, Erin and Dublin
settlements have maintained their full quota of Hibernians,
Erin township is quite as fertile as any in the county, and contains quite as good land, It has an area of about
eighteen square miles, being one of the three smallest townships of the county in company with Jefferson and Dakota,
There is no large creek or stream of any importance nor are there any groves or timbered sections of appreciable
extent, The township is crossed by the Illinois Central Railroad (main line) with its one station at the village
of Eleroy, This line, formerly a part of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad came through in 1852, and was later
purchased by the Illinois Central, which now controls the line from Freeport to Galena.
Dublin, or New Dublin settlement as it is familiarly called, embraces four square miles of territory, partly
in Kent and partly in Erin townships, from Willet's Grove to Callan's corners, and is largely settled by Irish
farmers who came from the immediate vicinity of Dublin, on the Liffey.
The first settlers were Bartholomew Doyle and Michael Murphey, who came about 1835 or 1836, New arrivals were not
numerous until 1842, when a large number of emigrants, including Andrew Cavanaugh, George Cavanaugh, Andrew Farrell,
Dennis Maher, a Mrs. Burns, John McNamara, Patrick Brown, etc.
Soon after the coming of Doyle and Murphey, St. Mary's Church of the Mound, one of the two rural churches of Stephenson
county which adhere to the Catholic faith, was established by a Galena priest, Recently a new and handsome structure
was erected, which does great credit to Dublin settlement, and is an unusually attractive church edifice for a
The present parish of Dublin comprises a territory about eight thousand acres in extent, and numbers fifty or more
families. The settlement is unique in that it has clung together for a period of nearly eighty years without much
change in its character except the natural improvements that have come to all the farm lands of the middle west.