Medina Township History

 

View of the Stock Farm of Imri W. Case
Section 30, Medina Township

Atlas Map of Peoria County, Illinois, 1873, page 116


MEDINA TOWNSHIP


     The first settler within the limits now comprised in this township was undoubtedly George Love, who came with his family from Park Co., Indiana, and settled November 10, 1824, near the spot now occupied by the village of Mossville. He had at that time no nearer neighbor than Fort Clark in one direction, and the Fox river in the other. In course of the succeeding year some five or six families settled near them. John Ridgeway was the first to follow and he helped the Loves to build their house. Edmund Weed Briarley, Abner Cooper, Henry Thomas and Samuel Clifton came next. The latter on coming bought out Weed's claim. Several other families whose names can not now be learned settled within a mile or so of Love's cabin, but staying only a short time sold their claims and moved on towards the setting sun. This was at that time the most thickly settled portion of the northern half of Peoria county. No saw or grist mill was erected in the township till about the year 1859, except some circle saw-mills which were put up about 1853. The Indians at that time were very numerous. The Pottawattomies were native to the county, and numerous other roving bands of Sacs, Foxes and Winnebagoes with a few Chippeways and Delawares were encamped and hunted all over it.
     In 1825 a small colony sprung up near the northern boundary of the township, and among those forming it were the Averys, Stephen French, Stephen Carl, and Resolve Cleveland with their families and they occupied at first the abandoned bark houses of an Indian town on Sec. 4. In the Spring of 1831, Mr. Linas Scovill with his family came from Vermillion county, Ind., and settled on a claim which he had previously bought from one of the Love family. The claim then entered upon is still owned by Mr. Scovill's son, who bears his father's name. The settlement at Mossville was directly in the track of the emigration going on between the years 1828 to 1835, to Galena, and the numbers passing through afforded a ready market for all surplus grain, garden products, etc. Much was also disposed of to voyagers upon the river. Between 1831 and 1840 the district was settled up rapidly, and good claims advanced greatly in price. Among those coming between these years may be mentioned, Gershom Silliman and family who set on Sec. 2 in 1831. John E. Bristol and Nicholas Sturm in 1832, Thos. Mooney and his sons James and William in 1835, J. H. and I. W. Case in 1836, William Robinson in 1837, and John P. Neal and Jonathan W. Rice in 1838. Simon Reed and Hiram M. Curry were the first justices of the peace, and held office in 1829. The first marriage was that of Abner Cooper to Sally Sheldon in February, 1826, near Mossville. They were married by Rev. Mr. Cormack, a Baptist preacher. Rev. John Thomas also a Baptist, preached the first sermon.
     In April, 1850, the township in common with the others forming Peoria county, was constituted and its present name adopted. The origin of the name is very uncertain. The committee on names wrestled with the problem for some weeks before they fixed upon Medina, which is certainly unobjectionable, both as regards its euphony and its singularity.
     The township consists of twenty-nine perfect sections and several fractional sections. It forms the southern part of LaSalle prairie and contains some excellent land. Running north and south through the middle is a belt of bluff land, two miles in width, covered with timber, but on each side and especially to the eastward a level prairie stretches out, dotted with as fine and productive farms as can be found anywhere. Two railroads traverse the township — the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, and the Peoria and Rock Island. The former having a depot at Mossville, and the latter at Alta.
     The township contains two villages, Mossville on Sec. 27 and Alta on Sec. 31. The former has a population of about two hundred, and is situated near the first land taken up in the township. It is on the line of the Bureau branch of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, which was opened in 1854, and the village was laid off about the same time. It was named after Wm. S. Moss, who owned, in company with Isaac Underhill, the quarter section on which the village stands at the time the railroad was laid through it. Few villages of its population possess better church or school edifices. Mr. A. Marberry, the postmaster, is proprietor of the only store in it, and the Mossville House, conducted for many years by Mr. John Crawl, offers excellent accommodation for the weary stranger.
     Alta is a railway station and post office on the Peoria and Rock Island Railroad, and was laid off for Imri Case, Thos. Hanson and Loren Wilder in March, 1873, and gained its name from its elevated position, being the highest point between Peoria and Rock Island. On account of the increased postal facilities gained from the establishment of a depot there, the village has been a great convenience to the inhabitants of that portion of the township. It contains a general store kept by Clarence Case, who is also post­master, a grocery kept by Alden Hawley, the Potter Brothers' cheese factory, capable of handling several thousand pounds of milk per day, and a blacksmith and wagon shop. A prominent feature of the place is the public school. The building is one of the best in the township. A lodge of the A. F. & A. M., and a temperance reform club are prosperously conducted in the village. (The History of Peoria County, Illinois, 1880, page 606-607, submitted by Janine Crandell)


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Updated December 9, 2004