History of Newell Township, Vermilion County, Il
From: History of Vermilion County, Illinois
By: Lottie E. Jones
Pioneer Publishing Company
Chicago 1911


Newell township early attracted settlers. These came mostly from Kentucky and Ohio. The Leaves were the first to come to this section. Later a colony came from the same county in Kentucky. This township gave generously to the Blackhawk war. Two of these commanded companies. They were George Ware and Alexander Bailey. Bailey's company was the largest in Col. Moore's regiment. Of the others who volunteered there were Chas. S. Young, Asa and Alpha Duncan, James Cunningham, Ambrose P. Andrews, Bushro Oliver, Obidiah LeNeve, John LeNeve, William Current, William G. Blair, Soam Jennings. John Deck, Samuel Swinford, Jacob Eckler, Jeremiah Delay, and John Watson.

The Mormons went into Newell township in 1831 but the year after the church was established and missionary work. They had some converts. Denmark was one of the earliest established villages in Vermilion County. Seymour Treat went from the Salt works in perhaps 1825 or 1826, and built a mill at this place. A thriving village grew up about it and so promising was it that Denmark was a dangerous rival for the county seat. The promise of a prosperous city was made of little worth all because of the liquor sold. Mr. Harbaugh, who is yet living at the age of one hundred and six, gives a word picture of Denmark in 1836 which shows the natural overthrow of its hopes. The village was peopled with a lot of rough characters, whose only amusement was to fight and drink more whiskey. Brawls and street fights were daily occurrences. Religious services were almost completely unknown. Now the only remains of the once flourishing village is one house. A bridge spans the river at the old ford, the farm houses are of modern build and a sense of peace and prosperity makes possible the hospitality of the old time inn. The loneliness of the streets of Myersville is almost a place of the past as is Denmark. True the old mill is yet standing but silent and forsaken it calls the passerby in most pathetic tones of silence. There are one or two of the old buildings left, among them being one which suggests the hospitality of the old time inn. The lonliness of the streets of Myersville is inexpressible. The very atmosphere is filled with memories and suggestions of the life which was there in the thirties, the forties and the following generations for perhaps another decade or more. But all have either moved away or died and been buried in the cemetery. This cemetery is unusually well kept and it seems as though there is the place to look for the names of those who made Myersville the flourishing village of the past. The Gundys, the Davisons, the Henkles, the Wiles, the Kerrs, the Woods, the Andrews, the Carters, and the Barges, all live about Myersville and must all be lying in the Fundy cemetery. As the village was going down people were moving away, and only those who didn't have money enough to get work away, were left, there was much poverty; then it was that record is made of Mr. "Andy" Gundy who was the most generous of men. He cared for these people as though he felt an obligation to do so. Want was unknown, for but a word would make him relieve any distress, and the people grew to expect and look upon this as a natural right.

The branch of the C. & E. I. R. R. was surveyed and built in 1872. This branch intersects the main line at what is now known as Bismarck. Chas. S. Young and Dr. John B. Holloway each gave twenty acres of land for a town site. John Myers added ten acres, reserving the alternate lots and selling the other to the railroad. The village was laid out in the fall of 1872. The first building put up was by Robert Kerr. In this building he had a store and was succeeded by John Leonard and Asa Bushnell. The latter bought out the former and enter into partnership with Francis Grundy.

Newell township is bounded on the north by Ross. on the east by Indiana, on the south by Danville township, and on the west by Blount township. It embraces all of township 20, range 2 except a strip on the west side three fourths of a mile wide, but includes about and equal quantity of range to on the east. It further comprises all the sections from 19 to 30 inclusive, in township 21. range 2, except the west half of sections 30 and 31, which belong to Blount, making an irregular west boundary with four mediate right angles. It covers an area of about fifty three sections and is about eight and a half miles from north to south and six miles from east to west. Great quantities of black walnut timber was to be found in this section and was a source of great wealth. Stony and Lick creeks are the principle streams. The North Fork of the Vermilion river winds back and forth along the western border, crossing it half a dozen or more times.

When the county was divided into townships the name of Riceland was given to Newell but was changed to the present name because there was another town of that name in the state. At this time Newell township had a third more territory which was lost when, in 1856, Blount township was organized. When the Toledo & Wabash railroad was built its western terminus was the point in Newell township now known as State Line City and Illina. The Great Western was built by another company and had a continuation of the same route to the southwest and the two roads formed a junction here. No wonder the village began to grow. State Line City was laid out in the spring of 1857 by Robert Casement and at the suggestion of A. P. Andrews was given its name. Not long afterward that part on the Illinois side was laid out by Parker Dresser and Edwin Martin and called Illina being a word formed from the first two syllables of Illinois and the last syllable of Indiana. The railroad company put up two engine houses and a passenger station with a large eating house attached. Passengers changed cars and all freight was trans shipped here. A large region, including the towns of Covington, Perrysville Eugene, Rossville, Myersviile and Marysville shipped and received freight at this point. About forty railroad hands were employed. Some time during the season John Briar and A. P., Andrews, under the firm name of Briar &. Andrews, built a general merchandise establishment. These early years of State Line City and Illina record the names of Perrin Kent and his son, William, Col. E. F. Lucas, Harvey Barkley, Dr. Porter, Robert Craig, and John Ludlow, Prof. Walbridge Marshall established a manual training school by soliciting subscriptions and issuing stock certificates entitling the holder to tuition for the amount subscribed. He bought ten acres of land and put up a two story building, 40 by 42 feet, in dimensions at a cost of $4,000. This institution was named Evens Union College. Prof. Marshall was a good instructor, and he managed the school well and until he severed his connection with it there was no complaint to be made concerning it. In 1864 he was succeeded by Prof. Asa D. Goodwin as principal all through the influence of John H. Braiden. These changes became the fruitful source of sectarian dissension and the prosperity of the school rapidly decreased. Two or three years afterward the trustees of Kent township bought the house for $2,700. It was later used for a public school.

In June, 1865, the railroad house and passenger house were burned and the two roads having been consolidated, the engine house was moved to Danville. The town suffered for this and perhaps yet more from the building of other railroads, which cut off territory tributary to it, and its decline was rapid and steady. A postoffice was once established at Walnut corners, which is thought to have been the first in Newell township. Ambrose P. Andrews was the first postmaster. Another postoffice was established at Myers Mill probably about 1854. Yet another, called Kentucky, was first located opposite Pleasant View Church, and was kept by Mordecai Wells, a blind man who had a little store at that place. He held it but a short time when Squire Phillip Leonard became the postmaster, and kept the office for above twenty years.

Blount township was a part of both Pilot and Newell townships when the county was first divided by township organization. The two streams, North Fork and Middle Fork formed barriers to interchange of neighborly duties and the transaction of business and in 1856 the supervisors determined upon a further division. This name given to the new township was Fremont, because of admiration of the dashing general by that name, but did not prove acceptable to all and some one remembered the kind old man by name of Blount who lived in this section when the county was young and his name satisfied everyone. The lines which form the eastern and western borders of Blount township are quite irregular but follow as nearly as possible within hailing distance of a creek. It contains territory a little more than a congressional township and a half. The surface of the township is higher in the middle and north where the prairie lies and was covered in the southern half and along its eastern and western boundaries with a stalwart growth of forest trees of oak, walnut, maples and here and there a beech tree. These trees are almost all destroyed. There has been a wicked destruction of the forest trees in Vermilion county during the past thirty years. There is a famous spring in Blount township where there has been an effort to establish a health resort under the name of Henrietta Springs. It was at this spring that the Indians spent much of their time when the white men came to this section. Samuel Copeland was the first settler of Blount township. The first schoolhouse in the township was the old log school a mile east of Mr. Copeland's house. John Skinner was the first teacher. The first preaching in the township was by the Rev. McKain at the home of John Johns. The Fairchild family came to Blount township in 1828. It was in 1834 or 1835 that Mr. Blount sold out and went to Wisconsin, attracted by the lead mines. There were a number of people who went at the some time. Hunting was the principle business of that time. Sickness was the rule and ague, milk sickness and fevers of all kinds kept the people broken in spirit, and sapped their strength, and energy.

Higginsville or Vermilion Rapids as it was called in the plat taken to the eastern capitalists in 1836, as yet exists but entirely shorn of its glory. No one could guess the beautiful city as represented to the would be purchaser of lots at this head of navigation of the Vermilion river, was the poor and almost deserted hamlet now standing on the Middle Fork in Blount township. Salem was another prospective city which never was much more than on paper. Mr. Oxley laid out the village and there was a store and a tannery as well as a doctor at this little village as early as 1837. This township has plenty of coal to gather but better facilities to raise it must be secured, before the attempt to market it will be made.

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