Timber Township History


Glasford: A History (pdf file 87 kb) submitted by Edward Magner



The Early Settlers and the Hardships They Encountered in Building Homes in the Wilderness, Just vacated by the Indians

In 1824 when Daniel J. Hinkle came west and bought land of the government, in what is now Timber township, the Indians were in possession of the land and all over this part of the country evidence can be found in the mounds and other relics found. But the Black Hawk War of 1825 decided their fate in 1826 they had moved further west.

Peoria at this time was but a small village not as large as Glasford now is. It was the county seat and hence the commercial center of the county.

Of course the first thing to receive attention when a family arrived, was the erection of a house in which to live, and far from being like some of the houses today, with furnace or steam heat, bath rooms and electric lights requiring a force of skilled workmen from three to six months to erect, all the houses at this time were of logs, and when a new family arrived all the neighbors for miles around turned out with axes and log wagons and in one day the house was ready to occupy. And as the women prepared a big dinner for the crowd, there was more genuine enjoyment than is seen today in our palaces. Nor would the neighbors stop at this. Ground would be cleared off and logs burned and the log rollings furnished more solid fun than the modern Fourth of July.

Settlers Built Schools.

One of the next things to claim attention of the early settlers was the education of the children. We had no public schools then but in 1983 Section 16 of each township was sold as school land and the money put out at interest for the support of education.

A few log school houses were built. The seats were logs split in two and hewed flat with legs in the round side. Two or three feet of one log was cut out and covered with greased paper to form a window. Several windows were thus made which on clear days furnished reasonably good light, but on cloudy days it was difficult to see to study, and the day consumed entirely in spelling, the teacher standing at the door so he could see. The books used were Webster’s speller, Pike’s arithmetic and Testament.

Parents who could afford it paid a small tuition fee and took turns about boarding the teacher. Ball, bull frog, three hole cat and leap frog with the boys, and skipping the rope with girls, were the amusements during intermission.

There were no churches, the meeting being held at the houses and the ministers being also settlers and laboring men. It was no uncommon thing for a settler to take his gun of Sunday to meeting and on his was home kill a deer or turkey.

Children and some times grown people went to church barefooted. There was but one store in the township, kept by W. C. Andrews at Lancaster. Money was almost unknown, nearly all transaction being by barter. If a man wanted to hire a farm hand, he would offer him a horse, a cow, 10 or 20 yards of jeans worth $1 a yard, one dozen pair wool socks, worth 50 cents a pair, for so many days, weeks or months work as the case might be. Game of all kind was plentiful and the skins and fur were readily exchanged for anything needed except postage stamps and salt. These required cash and as postage was 25 cents on a letter and salt about $3 to $4 a barrel, these were the greatest luxuries, and while today many families cannot afford to lay in a winters supply of meat by having a barrel or two of pork, in early days the people had meat of all kinds in abundance, but few families could afford the salt to preserve it. All kinds of schemes were used to keep meats without salt, a common method being to dry it.

Stock Ran at Large.

The hogs and cattle were branded and allowed to run at large, and of course the hogs became as wild and ferocious as beasts of the jungle. In the fall the farmers would go out on a hunt for meat and kill wild hogs. They kept what they wanted for meat and sold the rest in Peoria at 70 cents each. The hunting was attended with some danger as the wild hogs would sometimes take after the dogs, which would run toward their masters and the hogs would attack the hunters, who were often compelled to climb trees for safety.

The wives made jeans and lindsey from wool from sheep they raised, spun the yarn and wove the cloth. Caps were made of coon skins, and thus the entire family was clothed with home made material. Common calico was 25 to 50 cents a yard and was too fine for plain people.

The country was heavily timbered and wild game was plentiful. Fish was also abundant and the common method of catching them was to spear them from a canoe.

The young people did not spend the evening attending theatergoer shows, but seated around the old fire place with a tallow dip for a light or a wick placed in a saucer of grease, listened with pleasure to the old folk’s stories of adventure.

Only Two Roads Through Township.

There were but two roads through the township, one from Canton to Peoria up the bottom, the other from Canton to Peoria through Lancaster. These however would hardly be called public roads since there was so little travel that in summer the weeds and bushes grew in the road so that it was sometimes difficult to tell where the roads were. Paths through the woods led from one house to another. Timber was abundant, what today would be valuable walnut logs were burned without thought of their value. The people from the parry would come down to this township and hook (not steal) timber to build their houses and fences.

Timber township was part of what was known as the Military Tract from the fact that the land was deeded by the government to the soldiers of the war of 1812. They sold to speculators who in turn sold it to settlers.

One of the greatest inconveniences the early settlers experience was country in getting bread stuffs. There were but three small mills in this part of the country, one at Utica (Banner), one on Kickapoo and one on Copperas Creek in Fulton County, all run by water. Farmers would take a little grain to mill, mostly corn, and would have to wait their turn which would some times be several weeks.

Timber township was organized April 2, 1850. The first officers elected were: Supervisor, William L. Scott; Town Clerk, Joseph Ladd; Assessor, Samuel Farmer; Collector, David Ryno; Overseer Poor, James Bowman; Commissioners of Highways, Eli Taylor, Thomas Tichnor and Walter Stewart; Constables, John L. Scott and John W. Williams; and Justices, C. A. Buck and John Lucas.

The First Settlers.

Daniel J. Hinkle, wife and five children, John, Obediah, Daniel, Elizabeth and Polly, were the first people to settle in what is now Timber Township, in 1826. They came from Ohio and settled on the N. W. 1/4 of Sec. 21.

Jesse Eggman and family came in the same year and settled on the present site of Kingston Mines. They operated a ferry which was poled across the river.

Thos. Tichnor and wife came the next year, 1827, from Boone Co., N.Y., and settled on the Tichnor farm east of Glasford.

William Duffield and wife came from Virginia in 1829.

Mrs. Elizabeth Duffield, a widow with six children, came from Virginia in 1832 and settled where Glasford now stands.

Joseph Doll came from Pennsylvania and opened a blacksmith shop

John Congleton came from Virginia and located near the present site of Glasford. He had no children, but raised and brought with him two orphan brothers, George W. and John Saylor. George was the father of Amos, Joseph, Joshua L. and George C. Saylor, Mrs. Harriet Duffield and Mrs. Amy Fahnestock. John was the father of Mrs. Sarah Lightbody and Mrs. A. M. Baty.

Samuel Farmer and wife came from Ohio in 1838. He was an educated man for those days, and was the first school teacher, teaching in the log school house known as the Dry Run school. Mr. Farmer was also a surveyor.

Jacob Fahnestock, a manufacturer of plug tobacco, cigars and snuff, came to Illinois in 1836 from Abbottstown, Pa. With S. F. Bollinger of Canton he bought 160 acres in Sec.17 and laid off the town of Lancaster. He returned to Pennsylvania and the next year brought his family to their new home.

W. C. Andrews, an orphan boy, came to Lancaster with Jacob Fahnestock and opened the first store.

Samuel Hootman and family came from Ohio in 1840.

Thomas Vickers and wife came from Ohio in 1830.

Lancaster Laid Off in 1836.

Lancaster was the first village in Timber township, and was laid off as a town by Jacob Fahnestock and S. F. Bolinger in 1836.

W. C. Andrews opened the first store. Later he became financially embarrassed and committed suicide. His estate was purchased by A. L. Fahnestock.

J. M. Doll also conducted a store later and W. L. Scott kept a store and hotel.

J. W. Robbins ran the first cooper shop.

As all grain and hogs for miles around were taken to Lancaster Landing for shipment and goods for the towns north as far as Knoxville, Galesburg and Monmouth were brought up the river and hauled from the landing, teaming was an important industry and it was not uncommon for one hundred loaded teams to pass through Lancaster in one day.

A. L. Fahnestock, after working at the trade for Mr. Robins, bought the Andrews estate, and for years, ran three cooper shops making thousands of barrels. In 1856 Mr. Fahnestock sold hid shops to Herman Strobe and renting the Robins brick store building, engaged exclusively in the mercantile business and from that time to the end of its history was the chief merchant of the town.

These Were Firsts.

The first wagon in the township was owned by Daniel J. Hinkle.

The first store was run at Lancaster by W. C. Andrews.

The first saloon was at Kingston, run by S. F. Underfeed.

The first tan yard was run by Samuel Clark.

The first school was taught in a log house at Dry Run by Samuel Farmer.

(Copied from September 1949 issue of the Glasford Gazette, Glasford, Illinois on the Gazettes 50th anniversary and submitted by Shirley Slover)


     Timber township forms the extreme southern point of the county, and was originally chiefly covered with timber. The north part is rolling; the southern part is bottom lands. The Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw railroad, passes across the lower portion, and opens to market some valuable lands. Timber township is settled by an industrious and energetic class of citizens, who have made some of the best farm improvements in Peoria county. It is well watered and rolling, and is well adapted to stock and grain raising. One of the old settlers asserts that they have not had a failure in crops for forty-five years. It is claimed that a man by the name of Daniel Hinkle was the first settler in the township.
   Benjamin Duffield immigrated to Timber township from Nicholas county, Va., in the Spring of 1832, where he died the following year. He married Miss Elizabeth Shock, of Shenandoah county, Va., by whom he had seven children, five boys and two girls. Mrs. G. has been in the township over forty-seven years. She married Samuel A. Glassford, a native of Ohio, who came to the county in 1842.
     Mr. G. laid out the town of Glassford, December 9, 1868. The first name given to it was Glascoe, but it was afterwards changed for the reason that there was another town by that name in the State. The town contains two general stores, one Baptist church, a good school-house, two blacksmith shops, one flouring and saw mill, two shoemaker shops, a warehouse and one wagonmaker shop.
     The first school-house, says Mrs. G., was a small log building near Dry Run, 16x18, with greased paper for windows. The benches were made of slabs turned flat side up with pins for legs. Here some of the best people in the township got their education.
     The first church erected was at Lancaster, by the M. E. society, which has since been moved to Copperas creek, and is now used by the Christian Union. The first meeting was held at Wm. Eyman's, one mile above Kingston.
     John Congeton immigrated to the county in 1835. In the Spring of 1836, there was an election at the house of Wm. Duffield; he was appointed as one of the judges of election, and the whole number of votes cast was seven. Daniel Hinkle was not only the first settler in Timber, but the first justice of the peace.
     Col. A. L. Fahnenstock came to the county in 1837, from Adams county, Pa., and located at Lancaster. ln 1856, he embarked in the mercantile business in Lancaster; afterwards removed to Glassford, where he handles a large stock of general merchandise. He has held several local offices; was county treasurer two years. He entered the army as captain and was commissioned as colonel, but not mustered. Charles Fahnenstock, son of the colonel, is also engaged in the same business.
     Wm. H. Davis, has one of the finest flouring mills, outside of Peoria, in the county, equipped with the latest improvements. It was erected in 1872, and cost $17,000. There is also a saw mill worked by the same power, which cost about $3,000.
     Lancaster is situated on section 17, and was laid out by Samuel F. Bollinger. Since the railroad passed through the township the business has gone chiefly to Glassford.
Kingston, formerly Palmyra, is situated on the Illinois river, and was laid out by James Monroe. The chief business is coal mining. (The History of Peoria County, Illinois, 1880, pages 617-618, submitted by Janine Crandell)

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Updated December 13, 2004