Originally called Fairfield, La Prairie township is located in Township 12 North, Range 8 East. It has one town: Lawn Ridge.
Beginning at the south-eastern corner of La Prairie we find that the first settler in the locality was William COULSON, who came here from Peoria in September, 1832, and established himself in a double log cabin on Section twenty-three, where for several years he kept a house of entertainment. It stood about half a mile south of the Archibald RIDDLE farm, on the Galena road.
In 1838 he built a new house, about half a mile away from the first, and lived there several years, keeping a hotel as before. He died in about 1843, and his place was bought by Archibald RIDDLE and brother, where the former now resides. Mrs. COULSON moved to Peoria and married a Mr. KING, and the daughter also took a mate and moved to Iowa.
The second settler in the town was Solomon BREWER, who settled on Section twenty-five, one mile south of COULSON, in 1834. BREWER was a Carolinian and his wife was born in Virginia. They continued to reside here until 1844, when they moved to Peoria County and thence to Iowa.
The third to make a home in this Township was James KENYON, who settled on the northeast quarter of Section twenty-six in August, 1836. He was a native of Lancastershire, England. When he came to this country he located in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and labored as a weaver until he had earned enough money to send back for his family, who joined him in due time. On his arrival in this Township the first night he encamped under a tree, and leaving his family hastened to Quincy and entered the land, and lived on it, a prosperous farmer, until 1847, when he moved to Peoria County, and there died, as did his wife and daughter and only son, James.
In about 1832 Mr. Elisha STOWELL and wife, formerly Miss Ellen WILL, settled on Section Thirty-three, on the land now occupied in part by Lucas P. ROOT, two miles east of Lawn Ridge. Mr. STOWELL continued to reside thereon until 1842, when he moved to Stark County, where he died.
James CALDWELL came in 1838 from Erie, Pa., with his wife, whose maiden name was Sallie HAY, and settled on Section Twenty-five, on land which he had entered in 1836. He built a cabin and went to work with a will, and soon opened a fine farm, where his family grew to three sons and eight daughters. Here he lived until 1878, when he sold to Alexander RUSSELL, and moved to Chillicothe.
In 1838 Richard SCHOLES bought and settled on the south-west quarter of Section 3, about two miles west of Drake's Grove, and built a substantial log cabin, where he lived a couple of years, when he sold to Nathaniel WEED. It is now the property of the McCOY heirs. SCHOLES moved to North Hampton, where his wife died, and thence to Chillicothe, where he too paid the debt of Nature.
The next prominent settlers of this locality were Archibald and Robert RIDDLE, two Scotchmen who bought tHe COULSON farm in 1843-4 and for several years kept "bach." there. In 1851 or 1852 Robert sold his interest to "Archie" and went to California, where he was unfortunate and returned broken down in health, but recovered, and in a few years after bought a place at WEED's corner, when he opened a fine farm and grew wealthy.
Another leading citizen of the Township in the same vicinity, is Mr. Edwin S. JONES, long known to the old settlers as Esquire Jones. He was an early settler of Peoria County, and bought the Solomon BREWER farm in ehe summer of 1844, and has ever since resided there.
Among the early settlers in the southern part of the Township is Erastus C. ROOT, who came to the County in October, 1830. Although his farm is mostly in Marshall County his dwelling lies across the line, so that he is in reality a citizen of Peoria County. His father, Jehiel ROOT, and family, accompanied by Samuel REED and others, making ten wagons in all, came here from Ohio and settled in Hallock Township. Mr. ROOT lived for some time in Chillicothe, and began improvements on his present farm in 1836. His cabin was an exceedingly airy and open one. There was no floor, nor door, nor chinks between the logs, and Mrs. ROOT was in mortal terror lest the Indians might crawl in through these roomy crevices and steal her children, and finally getting indignant at the delay of fixing the cabin, told her husband the holes in the wall must be stopped or they would lose some of their children.
The stage road then ran through North Hampton, from Peoria to Galena. It came down from Boyd's Grove, east of the timber, and changed horses at Esq. JONES' place.
Roswell NURS, another neighbor, came in 1837, and Jacob BOOTH one year later, and settled near what was known as the "Buffalo wallow," from a springy place, wherein large numbers of buffalo bones have been found.
Robert WILL, Sr., came in 1837 and settled near ROOT's claim.
Lyman ROBINSON arrived here in 1843, and opened a farm.
Charles STONE came on to the prairie in 1845. His house was for many years the only place of public entertainment in the Township.
The next settlers in this locality were Joshua POWELL and "Deacon" SMITH, the former on the south-east quarter of Section 32.
The first blacksmithing in this locality was done by Mr. SMITH, in a part of Charles STONE's house.
Rev. Mr. ORDWAY came about 1846, and the HURDS came a little later.
Other settlers were William STEVENSON, Mr. STOWELL, Sr., the VINCENTs, Joseph CALDER, Ransom CALDWELL and Jacob BOOTH. The latter lived some years in the timber south before taking up his last homestead.
Henry SCOTT settled on Section 16, and Mr. DAVIDSON and Wilder SCOTT settled upon the School Section. Stephen WILMOT came in an earlier day.
Mr. STONE brought here 1,000 head of sheep, but the wolves were so numerous and destructive that he abandoned this enterprise in 1850.
In 1848 Elisha N. LEIGH and Amos F. LEIGH improved portions of Section 15 and 16, and moved their families a year later.
North of Chas. STONE's, Joel ATWOOD settled a year or two later.
Francis GRADY was the pioneer of Camp Grove, coming about 1842.
William SMITH and his sons Andrew and William and James, who settled on Section 16, came soon after.
Mr. SCOTT, with his sons Henry and William, came about 1851. They first settled in the timber, and afterward moved on to Section 16. Henry died in the fall of 1876, and William was drowned at Lacon in 1869.
Stephen WILMOT settled on Section 3, and moved to Section 16 two years after, about 1847. His sons B. C. and X. C. are now both residents of Section 16.
Levi HOLMES located on Section 2, James DORAN on Section 1 2.
Father KELLOGG came in 1850, starting his farm in the western part of Section 7.
Charlotte REYNOLDS came here about 1855, and improved the southwest quarter of Section 8.
Wm. RICKER improved the quarter section in 1854 or '55, which is now owned by David SHEARER.
Wm. CORNELL, now living near Loda, 111., settled north of Malachi Grove's farm about 1854 or '55. He was a broom-maker and sold his goods all over the country.
Adam CRAWFORD settled upon his present place in 1854.
Alden HULL came here about 1845. He started inlife as a shoemaker, was a Justice of the Peace many years, a member of the State Legislature, and was Treasurer of the School Fund for his District. December 12, 1879, he celebrated his eighty-sixth birthday.
James DAVIDSON opened his farm in 1855, and Robert PRINGLE about that date. James LEIGH improved near them on Section 24; about 1852, buying from Geo. SCHOLES, who had fenced the land but not broken it.
James LEIGH and his wife died of typhoid fever 1859.
Thomas KELLER settled west of Archie RIDDLES, in the edge of the timber, in 1850. He was a Methodist exhorter, and becoming insane, was sent to Jacksonville, where he died.
George HASTY improved near CALDWELL's place, on the north, about 1850.
Richard FRARY opened his farm in 1850, and Paul FRARY near him about the same season, both on Sections nineteen and twenty.
James BATES settled north of them in 1850 and afterward sold to Wm. McCOY.
Arthur RICKER improved a farm, now occupied by Mr. Lucas ROOT's sons, in 1850. Mrs. R. was a poetess and Universalist, and celebrated her religious views and her loyalty by composing patriotic odes.
Thomas WOOD opened his claim on Section 18 about 1852. He met with a sad bereavement in the loss of a little son, who, while attempting to drink from an open well, fell in and was drowned.
Nathan MANOCK made a farm north of HASTY's on Section 21.
Nathaniel GREEN made his farm on Section 24, about 1855.
Ann C. CALDER, whose husband, James CALDER, died soon after she came here, opened a large farm and proved herself to be an excellent farmer and business woman.
John MARTIN came here in 1853, buying part of his place from John HALSTEAD.
Barte HALSTEAD opened his farm south of MARTIN's about 1860.
Jacob BOOTH came here in 1850, improved his farm on Section 24, and subsequently died there.
Elijah STOWWELL settled north of the above in about 1850.
Solomon STOWELL began on his place in Section 27 in about 1852, and afterward moved to near Chillcothe.
Calvin STOWELL's farm was improved by Ebenezer STOWELL, his father, in 1865.
Ransom CALDWELL came to this locality, settling first in the timber, in 1855, and afterward moved out upon his present farm, in Section 23.
Byron HILL started a place east of him in 1859, and sold to Mr. COONLY, who injured himself while playing ball and died in 1860.
Byron HILL also improved the north-east quarter of Section 29 in 1854.
John CURRIE made a farm north-east of the Town Hall, on Section 15, in 1854, lived here for many years aud then removed with his family to Ford County.
Milton WEBBER came in 1854, and made improvements east of the SMITH farm.
Dr. Levi VINCENT came to his place in 1855.
Lyman BATES came to the Township in 1835, and worked for Richard SCHOLES on his farm. He broke the first prairie in the Township and planted the first osage orange hedge west of the river - They came from J. B. TURNER, of Jacksonville.
Joel D. FORBUSH settled near the north-east corner of La Prairie in 1851. He had been a resident of Lacon, coming to that place in 1846.
Extracted from Records of the Olden Time
The following list of names transcribed from the 1890 map may not be complete. As always, we welcome corrections and additions.
ARMSTRONG, A S
BELL, E S
BOOTH, Jacob, heirs of
BRIGGS, E M
CALDER, L G
CALDWELL, R O
CLEMMER, J S
CRAWFORD, Carrie P
ERSKINE, E S
FERBUSH, Joel D
FRARY, R B
FRARY, S B
GALLUP, George H
GREEN, J B
GREEN, J W
GREEN, L R
GREEN, R A
GROVE, M, heirs of
HANKINS, S P
HURD, J W
KELLOG, S F
KELLOGG, S B`
KING, A B
KING, F M
LEIGH, Amos F
LEIGH, E R
McCARTNEY, J B
McCULLOCH, R R
MYERS, Henry, heirs of
ODELL, J W
PHILLIPS, J B
POWELL, E W
PROCTOR, E A
REYNOLDS, John W
RIDDELL, Archibald, Jr
RIDDELL, W D
ROOT, A M
ROOT, E C
ROOT, J L
ROOT, J P
SCHUMWAY, S R
SCOON, Charles R
SCOON, John S
SCOON, William S
SCOTT, Isabella B
SCOTT, Mary E
SCOTT, William, heirs of
STOWELL, C E
TREWELL, John, heirs of
VINCENT, C S, heirs of
WEBBER, A P
WILMOT, X C
WOOD, Lewis T