Jubilee Township History

 

Photograph taken in 2004 by Janine Crandell


 

     The first settlements in Jubilee township were made in 1835, by Clark D. Powell, Roswell Walker, Samuel Johnson, A. W. Harkness, Jacob Snyder, Samuel Snider, Daniel Stansbury, David Shane, and Mrs. Lambert, of whom only two are now living, viz.: Samuel Snider and A. W. Harkness.
     Rev. Philander Chase, Bishop of Illinois, secured funds from the friends of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America and England, in 1836, with it he founded the Jubilee College, selecting lands in section 25, and came with his family into the township. He called the place "Robins' Nest," because, as he says, his first dwelling was "built of mud and sticks and filled with young ones," and the place is called by that name to this day. It is the only postoffice in the township. Although the village was known at this early date, there is perhaps now not over a score of houses within its limits. Bishop Chase was the first postmaster, and was appointed in 1837. On the 3d day of April, 1839, Bishop Chase laid the corner-stone of the chapel of the Jubilee College, from which the township was afterwards named. Noah Alden and Hiram Shane were the first justices of the peace; they were appointed in 1843.
     Prominent among the citizens of this township is the name of Gilbert Hathaway, who settled here in 1838, and has always taken an active part in the affairs of the town. He held the office of assessor five years, collector four years, and supervisor two years; and held the office of township treasurer for twenty-seven years continuously, from 1861 to 1878. Mr. Hathaway has dealt considerably in real estate in his town, and has done much to improve and build up the township. Hon. William Rowcliffe, residing on section 11, has also taken an active part in the township, as well as the county matters; has held nearly all the offices of the town, and has honorably acquitted himself as a member of the General Assembly. His prospects are perhaps as favorable as any man in the township for further promotion; in fact, his influence throughout the county is probably greater than any other man in the township. J. B. Slocum, one of the early settlers of Jubilee, although not taking so active a part in the public affairs of the town and county, has held many of the offices from time to time, and been counted as one of the leading men of the place. He has dealt largely in real estate, and improved a number of farms in the township, but has resided for some thirty years on section 29, and now owns a farm of over two hundred acres on sections 20 and 29.
     Jubilee was first divided into four school districts, viz.: number one, or the Rowcliffe district; number two, or the Shane district, which built its first school-house in 1847 ; number three, or the brick school-house district, which was built in 1848 ; number four, or the Bramble district, which built its house in 1850. Nathaniel F. Shaw was the first teacher of a public school in the township. The first marriage was that of Samuel Snider to Mary Jane Stansbury, in 1839. Samuel, son of Daniel Stansbury, was the first child born. Mr. Squires, who lived on the southern line of the township, was the first person who died in the township after its settlement. Rev. L. N. Hall preached the first sermon, in the house of Jacob Snyder. There has never been a house of worship erected in the township, except the chapel referred to in connection with the college, but arrangements are now being made to build a Lutheran church on section 28, and also a Methodist church on section 33. A part of the plat of land set apart for the Lutheran church is to be used as a cemetery. The first person buried here was the wife of Philip Killstadt, who died April 15, A. D. 1880. The school-house known as the Town House, is built on section 15, where all township meetings and elections are held. The increase of population in this township has so augmented the demand for educational facilities that the number of school districts is now not less than nine, with very good school-houses in each. The principal market for this township is at Brimfield, one mile from the western line of the township. The postoffice at Robins' Nest is now kept by Benjamin Tucker, an old resident of the place. The present officers are as follows: Supervisor, Peter Cahill; collector, George Rowcliffe; assessor, Cecil Moss; town clerk, Frank Coulson; township treasurer and justice of the peace, Thomas Pacy; justice of the peace, Win. Rowcliffe; constables, Phil. Lully and George Rowcliffe.
     This township is well watered by numerous branches of the Kickapoo and their tributaries. There is plenty of timber throughout the whole area, and stone and coal of good quality abound. Jubilee, although not as rich as some of the neighboring towns, is perhaps as favorable a locality as can be found in this section of the county. It is surrounded by railroads on all sides, at distances varying from a few rods to three or four miles, and yet it has never voted any tax or bonds for either road, and hence it is as free from debt as any town in the county; and its taxes lighter, perhaps, than any of the surrounding towns. (The History of Peoria County, Illinois, 1880, page 597-598, submitted by Janine Crandell)


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Updated December 7, 2004