The first white man to locate in Havana Township, and, in fact, the first in Mason County, is believed to have been a man named James Hoakum, but of him there is little information to be had at the present day. This much, however, is definitely known, that he kept the ferry for Ross, where the city of Havana now stands, which was established in 1823 or 1824, and is supposed to have located on this side of the river as early as 1827. There is little doubt but he was the first "Caucasian" upon the classic sand-hills of Havana after the famous "fish-fry" of Father Marquette and his party, mentioned by Gen. Ruggles in the general history of this work. He did not remain long, however, and Maj. Ossian M. Ross, perhaps, may, with truth, be set down as the first permanent settler. He came originally from the Empire State to Illinois in 1819, and settled in Madison County. In the spring of 1821, he settled in Lewistown, Fulton County, and was one of the proprietors of that town, which was named for his son, Lewis Ross. Maj. Ross established the ferry at the present city of Havana in 1823-24, as above stated, but even prior to the establishment of a regular ferry, he had an arrangement for assisting people over the river on Saturday of each week. He would take them and their baggage in a canoe, while their horse or horses were made to swim by the side of it. Ira Scoville was the next man, after Hoakum, who kept the ferry, and now lives in Fulton County. Mr. Ross built a hotel in Havana in 1829, the first in Mason County. He was also the first Postmaster and a public-spirited man. He died in 1837, but has left able representatives behind him to perpetuate his good name. He had a brother, John M. Ross, who lived here for a number of years, but moved away, and is now dead. Maj. Ross' family consisted of four sons and two daughters, viz.: Lewis, the eldest, lives in Lewistown, Harvey in Vermont, Leonard in Avon and Pike in Canton, all of Fulton County. One of the daughters, Harriet, married A. S. Steele, and Lucinda married Judge Kellogg. Henry Myers came here very early, the same year, perhaps, that Ross did, but of him little could be ascertained. He moved over into Fulton County in a short time, and further nothing is remembered of him. John Barnes settled in the township at "the Mounds," above Havana, about 1829-30. He sold out there and moved to Quiver. When, some time after, a school was established in a shanty at Mr. Dieffenbacher's, some four miles distant, Barnes took his plow and made a furrow to it, turning the dirt out both way, thus making a road through the prairie grass for his children to go to school. He had several girls who used to cut "cord wood" and bring it down the river on a raft to Havana. Think of that, ye delicate young ladies of the present day. He finally moved to Kansas, and, some years ago, when Dr. Field was in Kansas, he camped in the woods one night, and, just after he had made his camp, some others did the same near by. Field heard a man talking, and remarked, that if he knew that old man Barnes was in that country, he would say that he heard him talking. "It is old Barnes," said a voice, and up stalked the old gentleman in question. He and Field talked all night about old times. He is probably dead, as he was rather old when he left here.|
In addition to those already mentioned, the following re-enforcements were received during the year 1835; Orrin E. Foster, N. J. Rockwell, Napoleon P. Dirks, Daniel Adams Blair, Abel W. Kemp, Eli Fisk, two men named Ray and Hyde, and the Wheadons. The latter were from New York, and made but a short stop on this side of the river. They went on to Lewistown in Fulton County, and resided there until 1854. Selah Wheadon is well known in Havana, as a newspaper man of experience and ability, and is mentioned in that connection. Fisk was a native of Connecticut and located in Havana, where he resided until 1837, when he removed to the farm where his son, E. C. Fisk, now lives, and where he died in 1861. He was born in 1781, at the close of the Revolutionary war, and died just at the beginning of another, compared to which the first was mere child's play. His son, Eli C. Fisk, is a public man of some prominence, being a preacher and a lawyer, and has always taken an active interest in the welfare of his country. Foster, Kemp, Adams and Rockwell came together, and were from the Province of Canada. Adams' residence here was brief. While making a trip to the East he lost his life on an Ohio River steamboat. Kemp is the only survivor of this colony, and at the present time is living in Wisconsin. The following extracts from an address, delivered by W. H. Spencer, at the golden wedding of Mr. Kemp, which occurred the 26th day of August, 1874, are not out of place in this connection: "In 1833, Mr. Kemp and family went to Canada (from New York, their native place), thence moving in 1835, to Illinois, locating on a farm in the bottom-lands of the Sangamon River, near Havana, Mason County. In those days it was very fashionable to get the ague and keep it, and so Mr. Kemp's family, one and all, immediately joined the company of shakers, and we are told that their faces were of the color of lemon peel, and their teeth did chatter, chatter as unceasingly as old Goody Blake's, in the melancholy cynic poem. There were no doctors in the neighborhood, which, perhaps, accounts for the fact that they all survived the shakes. In one respect, however, this family did not follow the fashions, for at that time, when the houses were all made of logs, and windows were holes in the wall, perfectly innocent of glass, what did this Mr. Kemp do but fly right in the face of public opinion by purchasing four panes of glass and putting them in the aforesaid hole in the wall. Is it any wonder that his humble neighbors pronounced in one of the vanities of civilization, and looked upon his house as a proud man's castle, and upbraided the inmates as being wickedly extravagant, 'big feelin', and 'sort o' stuck up like!' * * * Happy the day when they decided to quit this ague farm. It happened in this wise: Mr. Kemp was preparing to build a new house on the old ground, determined, apparently, to fight it out on that line if he shook all his life. But when the foundation was laid, Mrs. Kemp came to look at it and with sallow face and chattering teeth, she admonished him that she could not survive another year on that old, bilious farm, and begged him to pitch his tent where she should direct. Like a good and obedient husband, he followed where she led. Riding over the prairie several miles from the site of the first farm, she pointed to a spot and said: 'There, Abel, is where I want my house.' He alighted and drove a stake there, bought the land of the Government, and built his house on the very spot, in the midst of 120 acres of rich soil. From that day, the ebbing tide in fortune stopped, and the flow set in. After remaining several years on this farm, he moved into the village of Havana, where he kept a hardware store in connection with a foundry. * * * While in Illinois, N. J. Kemp and Frances (now Mrs. John M. Palmer) were born, making in all eight children, three of whom are not living, and who died in Illinois. In 1865, Mr. and Mrs. Kemp came on a visit to their children at this place, and very naturally fell in love with our beautiful village, and decided to make it their future home. * * * Mr. Kemp has been a member of the I. O. O. F. for twenty-five years. He is therefore a veteran in our ranks-the patriarch of the family. No one is more regular in his attendance at the Lodge than he, and this week he has shown his interest as well as physical vigor, by riding fifteen or twenty miles to attend the funeral of a brother. * * * We honor and congratulate you on this fiftieth anniversary of your wedding, and as a token of our esteem for you as a man of integrity, our respect for you as an honorable citizen, our affection for you as a brother, a long-tried, true, trusty and faithful Odd Fellow, allow me, in behalf of many members of our Order here, to present you this cane. Let its golden head symbolize the fifty golden years that crown your golden life, so full of honor and joy. It is a staff which you may lean upon, not as a broken reed, but a staff as strong as the love of your friends, which will ever bear you up as you walk through your declining years. And to you, Mrs. Kemp, in congratulation of this event, and as a little token of their esteem, the Daughters of Rebecca, through me, present you this silver cup, gold-lined, and other friends present this gold watch.
The following extract is from a letter written by Judge Rockwell, from his home at Troy, N. Y., in 1876, and gives the particulars of his early settlement in the West: "The best part of my life-that portion which should be given to active business enterprise-was spent in Havana. It was not as fruitful of desirable results as I wish it had been, for if I had the ability, which I do not assert, I certainly had not the pecuniary means to build up a town in a new country. When at the age of twenty-six years, I landed in Havana from the steamer Aid, the last boat up the Illinois River for the season of 1835, Maj. Ossian M. Ross was living at Havana, a man of means and large experience and the projector of the town, ready and willing to expend money, time and influence in building it up. He promised much, which I have no reason to doubt he would have fulfilled had he lived, but death removed him, and left more than half of Havana, the property of an estate, with minor heirs, nearly one-half of the town being sold to a Peoria firm, one of whom soon died, and their portion became involved in the affairs of another estate, with no one connected with either trying to build up the town, but both trying to draw from it a support to live elsewhere. You ask the place of my birth. I was born in Benson, Vt., on the 14th day of February, 1809. Benson, Whiting and Middletown, Vt., were, respectively, my home until my eighteenth year, when my father removed to Watertown, N. Y., where I was a clerk in the store of L. Paddock until my twenty-second birthday. I was offered a partnership, in Demorestville, Canada, with James Carpenter, who had been in business there a number of years and was well established. I accepted, and became a member of the firm of Carpenter & Rockwell. In 1835, I sold out my interest in the firm to my partner, and took my savings and started to seek my new home in the Great (and the then far-off) West. Daniel Adams and Abel W. Kemp and their families landed at the same time, all of us having started, with Orrin E. Foster and wife (the late Mrs. E. Low), from Demorestville, in Upper Canada, to settle somewhere in the Great West, and in a warmer climate than that of Canada. Mr. Adams, on a return trip to Canada on business, lost his life by a ruffianly mate on an Ohio River steamboat, near Louisville, Ky. You know Mr. Kemp's present residence. Of the time and the money which I spent from my slender means for years, to make Havana and Mason County desirable to live in, it does not become me to speak. Havana seems to me yet more like home than anywhere else I go or live; not because there is no other place equal to it in this part of the country, but because I lived there so long and because there are so many much less desirable places." Mr. Rockwell filled the office of County Judge one term, with other offices of a minor character. He died in 1878, and his wife died the present year. Orrin E. Foster, who seems to have been a kind of leader of this little colony, was a native of Vermont, but had removed to Candad, and from there came to the West with this party, as mentioned. He engaged in the hotel business, and kept the second house of entertainment, perhaps, in Mason Count. Subsequently, he bought a farm, three miles east of the city of Havana, which was his home until his death, an event that occurred in 1843. His widow married Eliphaz Low, an early settler of this township; the result of which union was two sons-Anson and Rufus Low. There were four children by the first marriage-J. R., or Judd Foster, as he is familiarly called, is a member of the firm of Low & Foster, grain-dealers, and is a business man who stands as high as any in Mason County. Dirks was a Holland Dutchman, and died here. Blair was here but a short time. He came from the other side of the river, sold out to Rockwell, and returned whence he came. He was a carpenter by trade. Ray was a Canadian, and married Hyde's daughter, whom he afterward deserted, and what finally became of him is not known. Hyde, after a few years, moved away.
In 1836, the following recruits were added to the settlement: The Low brothers, Pulaski Scoville, Pollard Simmons, C. W. Andrus, Stephen Hilbert, Hoag Sherman, Ephraim Burnell, John Ritter, A. C. Gregory and John and William Alexander. The Lows came originally from the old Bay State, and consisted of three brothers, Francis, Thomas and Eliphaz, of whom none are now living, except Francis. He, at the age of eighteen years, came West, stopping at Louisville, Ky., where he engaged in the mercantile business. In 1834, he went to Cincinnati; from there, he went to St. Louis, and came here as above. The Lows, together with Pulaski Scoville, built a steam saw-mill here at an early day, which sawed timbers for buildings in Alton and St. Louis, and for the first railroad built in the Mississippi Valley, as well as for the houses erected in this section of the country. Francis Low was Deputy Sheriff of Tazewell County when it included this portion of Mason, and the first Sheriff of Mason County after its formation. He served as Sheriff two terms, and assisted in building the Illinois River Railroad. Mr. Low has always been an energetic business man, taking a lively interest in everything calculated to promote the welfare of his town and county. He took an active part in organizing the Havana National Bank, of which he is President. Thomas and Eliphaz Low came in the spring of 1836, while Francis came the fall following. They made claims on Quiver, and were honored and respected citizens. Thomas died about 1846, and Eliphaz in 1864. The latter has a son living at present in the city of Havana, engaged in the grain business (firm of Low & Foster), and is one of the substantial business men of the city. Pulaski Scoville removed to Warren County, Ill., in 1834, and to this section in 1836, as above noticed. He came from Cincinnati to Illinois, but is a native of Connecticut, whence he removed to New York, where he remained six years before emigrating West. As already stated, he, in company with the Low brothers, built a steam sawmill at Havana, which did an extensive business for many years. He bought a large quantity of land, and was possibly the first grain-buyer in this part of the country, as we learn that he bought a thousand bushels of corn from a Mr. Reese, who lived where Virginia now stands, and 1,200 bushels from James Walker, at Walker's Grove. He is still living in Mason County. Julius, Junius and Lucius Scoville were brother of Pulaski Scoville, and came to the settlement in a year of two afterward. Julius and Junius were twins, and all three are now dead. C. W. Andrus came from Watertown, N. Y., and located where the city of Havana now stands, and is still living. He engaged in merchandising with N. J. Rockwell soon after his arrival, and, about three years later, removed to Fulton County. In 1845, he returned to Havana, and resumed his old business as a merchant. He is the oldest merchant in Mason County living to-day. Mr. Andrus was one of the early Justices of the Peace, but declined all other offices. He has always been an upright business man, and is one of Havana's respected citizens. Ephraim Burnell settled near the "Mounds" in the vicinity of Havana, and afterward, in removing to California, died on the route. Erasmus and Evander Burnell were nephews, and came soon after Ephraim. Evander is dead, and Erasmus lives in Kansas. John Ritter and A. C. Gregory settled in the same neighborhood as Ephraim Burnell, and about the same time. Ritter was from Kentucky, and was the father of Col. Richard Ritter, well known to many of our readers as a Colonel in the late war, and who now lives in Missouri. The elder Ritter died on his original settlement. Pollard Simmons died here, but we believe has a son still living. Stephen Hilbert and Hoag Sherman were from the East, but what State we did not learn. Both died here a number of years ago. James Blakely came to Mason County this year, but settled in what is now Kilbourne Township, where he lived for a number of years, when he removed to the place in this township where his widow yet lives. He is further noticed in the history of Kilbourne Township. John and William Alexander came this year, but did not remain long. One of them lived near the Mounds, and the other sold to Joseph Mowder when he came to the settlements, in 1839. Further, nothing is remembered of them.
From the "golden fields" and "verdant hills" of the Fatherland, we have a large delegation of Germans, who became the best of citizens. Unheeding the pathetic strains of a native poet-
"Wie wird es in den fremden Wiildern
They left the homes of their youth and came to a country where the highest honor to be attained, the proudest title to be won, is that of American citizen. Among them, we may note the following families: The Krebaums, the Dierkers, the Guntlachs, the Havighorsts, John H. Schulte, John W. Neteler, Frederick Speckman, Harman Tegedes, John W. Holzgraefe, and a great many others who do not rank as old settlers. The Krebaum family consisted of Bernhard Krebaum and five sons, Frederick, Adolph, William, Edward and Charles G., the latter born in this township, and supposed to be the oldest native-born citizen of Mason County. There were two daughters, both of whom are still living. Three children, also, died young; two died in Germany and one in this country. The Krebaums are said to have been the third family in Havana Township, and the fourth in Mason County, and arrived here in the summer of 1834. The old gentleman resided here until his death, in 1853, at the age of seventy-one years. Frederick, the oldest son, died recently, at an advanced age; Edward died several years ago; Adolph, William and Charles G. are still living in the city of Havana, honorable and upright citizens. Adolph served several terms as County Clerk, an office in which he gave unbounded satisfaction. Charles G. is an extensive grain-dealer. To Adolph Krebaum we are indebted for much of the early history of both the township and city of Havana. John H. Dierker and two brothers, Henry and George, came to the present township in 1838, and the former located about one mile from Havana, and still resides on the place of his original settlement. Born in 1799, he has now reached his fourscore years. A local writer pays him this tribute, which his friends unite in acknowledging to be justly due him: "His wealth has not been obtained by narrow and penurious dealing; but he has ever been noted for generous open-heartedness, and from him the poor never went empty away. Though his sun is now declining into the western horizon, he enjoys good health, and is quite active for his years. He has long been identified with the German Lutheran Church of Havana, the financial interests of which have been in a most healthful state on account of that relationship. His sense of right is his law, doing unto others as he would that they should do unto him." Henry and George settled in Bath Township; Henry died soon after his arrival, and George in 1854. Jacob Guntlach first came to America in 1832 or 1833, returned to Germany, and came back with the Krebaums. His brother Theodore Guntlach came also at this time. They located about two miles northeast of Havana; but did not remain long in the neighborhood, and sold out and moved away. Augustus Otto and John Woeste came about 1844 or 1846. The former removed to St. Louis about two years ago, and Woeste died here. The Havighorsts are another substantial family of Germans, consisting of several brothers, viz.: John H. and G. H. D. Havighorst, now living in the city of Havana; Gerard, another brother, a prominent merchant of Bath, died there some years ago; and still another brother is a preacher, and lives in St. Louis. John H. came to America in 1836, and remained in New Orleans until the following year, when he came to this township. In 1844, he commenced business in the village of Matanzas, and remained there until 1858. He was elected Sheriff of Mason County in the fall of that year, and removed to Havana. He was again elected to the office in 1862, and Circuit Clerk in 1864. He also served a term as Sheriff, beginning in 1848. In all these positions of public trust, Mr. Havighorst made an excellent and efficient officer, and though now beyond the sunny slope of life, is well preserved, and bids fair to live yet for many years to come. G. H. D. Havighorst did not come to this country as early as his brother. He arrived at Schulte's Landing, one mile below Havana, in the fall of 1844, and soon after went to Meredosia, in Morgan County, where he remained until 1849, then returned to Mason County, and located at Bath. In 1864, he made a visit to Germany, and, on his return to this country, settled in Havana, where he still lives. He owns a large lot of land in the county, and is one of the wealthiest citizens of the community. John H. Schulte came to the United States, and to Mason County, in 1837. He established what was known as Schulte's Landing, on the river, below Havana. Here he engaged in the grain business. For many years his trade there is said to have exceeded that at Havana. He was also a kind of itinerant merchant, and sold goods in Menard, Cass and Mason Counties. Mr. Schulte died in 1845. A son is now Deputy County Clerk of Mason County. John William Neteler came to America in 1836. His family consisted of Anna Maria (afterward Mrs. Speckman) Catharine Elizabeth (at the time wife of John H. Schulte), and John H., a son. He had come to the country the year previous. The old gentleman died the fall after they came, and was the first German buried in the Havana Cemetery. John H. was an assistant of Mr. Lincoln in his early surveys in Mason County. None of the Neteler family survive except grandchildren. Frederick Speckman, who married a daughter of Neteler, as mentioned above, came to the country in 1835, and to this township in the fall of 1836. He died in 1854, but has several representatives living in the town. Harman Tegedes came to America in 1844, and located in Havana Township, where he died in 1875. His widow still resides on the old homestead. John W. Holzgraefe came to the United States in 1836, and stopped in the city of Boston, where he remained until 1840, when he came to Mason County and settled in Havana Township. He still lives on the place of his original settlement, and is a wealthy and enterprising farmer. He has five stalwart sons, and a peculiarity in their names is, that each begins with George, as follows: George William, George Henry, George Lewis, George Brantz and George Frank. They are among the successful business men of Havana and vicinity. Leopold Sterns, Michael and Emanuel Steiner and George Weiner were Jews. Sterns went to California twelve or fifteen years ago; the Steiners to New York, where they are engaged selling "sheap clodings," and Weiner went to Philadelphia. Adam Fassler and Joseph Meyer were Pennsylvania Dutch. Fassler removed to the West; Meyer, we believe, is dead, but has a son living in Sherman Township.
The population was increased, in 1837, by the arrival of the following new-comers: Charles Howell, the Dieffenbachers, Alexander Stuart, Nehemiah Murdock, Isaac Parkhurst and Jesse Brown. The latter came from the East, though from what State is not known. His first residence was of the pattern which is said to have first given rise to order in architecture, viz., two forks driven into the ground, a pole extending from one to the other and others set with one end on the ground, supported at the top by the pole resting in the forks. This was covered with prairie grass, with one end left open for ingress and egress. He had logs cut for a house, and Dieffenbacher and Howell proposed to help him put it up, if he would give them shelter. This he agreed to, and the three families found shelter in it until they could build their own cabins. He sold, a few years later, to Dan Roberts, and made an improvement on the Springfield road, one mile from Havana, and finally sold out and removed to Missouri. Roberts came from Pennsylvania, and died in this township, but his widow is still living. Isaac Parkhurst came from New Jersey and settled in Havana Township, where he resided until his death. He has numerous representatives still living in the county. Nehemiah Murdock was a native of New Jersey, and came to Illinois in the spring of 1837, stopping in the present county of Sangamon, and the following year came to this township. The next year, however, he returned to his native place, where he remained until 1854, when he again came to Illinois in the spring of 1837, stopping in the present county of Sangamon, and the following year came to this township. The next year, however, he returned to his native place, where he remained until 1854, when he again came to Illinois, and now resides in Crane Creek Township. He has a son in Havana, one of the proprietors of the Mason County Democrat. Alexander Stuart hails from "Ould Ireland," and is a model representative of that nationality. He was one of the first lumber merchants in Havana, an early Justice of the Peace, and one of the early steamboat men. He is still living in the city of Havana, a well preserved pioneer of more than sixty years. Daniel Dieffenbacher is a jolly old Pennsylvania Dutchman, and came from the Keystone State, as noted above, in 1837. He served on the first grand jury after the organization of Mason County, in 1841, and has always been an active man in his neighborhood. In 1839, he became identified with the Methodist Church, and has ever since been a zealous member of that denomination, and is a man in whom there is no guile. He is still living and enjoying good health for one of his years. Of six children still living, but three are residents of Mason County-Mrs. Thomas Covington and Dr. Philip L. Dieffenbacher, of Havana, and Mrs. Dr. Willing, of Bath. Dr. Dieffenbacher came to Illinois with his parents, and in 1849 returned to Pennsylvania, where he completed his education, studied medicine, and graduated in Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia. In 1856, he came back to Illinois, and located in Havana, where he has since made his home. In 1862, he enlisted in the Eighty-Fifth Illinois Infantry, and was promoted to Surgeon with the rank of Major, in June, 1863. He served with this regiment until the close of the war, and was with Sherman in his march to the sea. Charles Howell is also a native of Pennsylvania. He came to Mason County and settled four miles east of the city of Havana. This claim he soon after sold and purchased the mill site where McHarry's mill (on Quiver Creek) now stands, in company with Julius Jones and William Pollard. He was a wheelwright by trade; and in about 1842, they built a saw-mill, which they afterward sold to McHarry. After McHarry's purchase, he built a grist-mill on the south side of the creek, a notice of which will be given elsewhere. Mr. Howell is a kind of wandering Jew, and has "roamed through many lands." From his native State he went to New York, where he remained but a short time, and returned to Pennsylvania. He next went to Louisiana, where he was for a time engaged in work for the Port Hudson & Clinton Railroad, during which time he built a bridge for it, still known as the "Howell Bridge." His next removal was to Illinois, as given above. In 1849, he crosses the plains to California, returned in 1850, and, in 1859, made another trip to the Golden Gate. His experience has been vast and varied; and, after a life crowded with stirring episodes, he has settled down once more in the vicinity of his early home in Mason County, to spend the remainder of his days.
Hon. Robert McReynolds, also a Pennsylvanian, came to Illinois in 1839, and located in this township. He was a neighbor to the Dieffenbachers in Pennsylvania, as well as in Mason County. During his long residence here, he was called upon to fill various official positions, in all of which he discharged his duty with faithfulness and fidelity. For several years, he served as County Judge. He died in 1872, at the age of eighty-one years. From his obituary notice we make the following extract: "for more than a year the hand of time bore heavily upon him, but, happily and cheerfully, he could say with Job, 'All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.' The deceased was an old-time Christian and united with the M. E. Church in 1831, consequently was not only a pioneer in this country but a pioneer in Methodism in the West, and for long years the intimate friend of the venerable Peter Cartwright, who so recently preceded him to the spirit land." Joseph Mowder came from the Quaker State the same year as did McReynolds, also a Methodist preacher named Coder came with McReynolds. Coder had a son, who was a doctor, and removed to Logan County. Mowder still lives on the place where he originally settled, and which he bought from one of the Alexanders. Jacob T. Mowder, a son of Joseph, still lives in this township, and was a child when his father moved to this country. John R. Chaney came from Kentucky to Illinois in 1837, and located in Greene County. In the spring of 1839, he came to Mason County and settled in Crane Creek Township, and, in the fall of that year, came to this township. He still resides on his original claim made in this town, and is one of the prosperous farmers. He was one of the second corps of County Commissioners after the organization of Mason County.
Asa W. Langford, a native of Tennessee, came to Fulton County, Ill., in 1824, and located where he afterward laid out the old town of Waterford. Later, he became one of the proprietors of Lewistown and of Havana, and, in the latter place, lived for a number of years. George W. Langford, his son, located in Havana when but fifteen years old, and entered the employ of Walker, Hancock & Co., and, in 1856, became a partner in the firm. He was for many years one of the leading business men of Havana, which place he still makes his home, though of late years he has been a traveling salesman for a large wholesale house in New York.
Col. V. B. Holmes and John W. Wiggenton were early settler here as well as in Bath Township, where they are more particularly mentioned. They were among the first merchants of Havana, and opened a store in the village when it consisted of but a few log cabins. The Wrights, represented in Havana at present by O. H. and H. A. Wright, are not as early settlers as many already mentioned in this chapter, but came to Illinois in 1845, and located in Fulton County. In 1849, they came to Havana. George Wright, the father of these boys above noticed, was a soldier of the war of 1812, a son of Thaddeous Wright, a Revolutionary soldier and a native of Massachusetts. He died in Havana, in 1865. O. H. Wright served one term as Circuit Clerk of Mason County, was a member of the last Constitutional Convention of Illinois, and is one of the oldest newspaper men of Havana.
Hon. Luther Dearborn is a native of New Hampshire, and came to Havana in 1844. He did not remain here long but removed to St. Charles, Kane Co., Ill., and, the year following, located at Elgin. In 1850, he was elected Sheriff of Kane County, and had for his deputy the well-known detective, Allan Pinkerton. He also served as Circuit Clerk of Kane County, and during the term was admitted to the bar. In 1858, he returned to Havana, where he has ever since resided. He is the senior member of the law firm of Dearborn & Campbell, leading lawyers, not only of Mason County, but of Central Illinois.
Among the prominent positions held by Mr. Dearborn was that of State Senator in the last General Assembly.
Marcellus Dearborn, a brother, and Jonathan Dearborn, their father, came at the same time. The elder Dearborn built the hotel now known as the Mason House, and kept a hotel for a time. He has been dead for a number of years.
Dr. E. B. Harpham came to Illinois in 1844, and located in Havana. He is a native of the "City of Brotherly Love," and, at the age of five years, removed with his parents to Indiana. After arriving at manhood, he studied medicine and graduated, when he came to Havana, as above, where he has practiced his profession for a quarter of a century. He is still living, one of the highly respected citizens of Havana.
James, Levi and Silas Harpham are brothers, and came soon after the Doctor, and, we believe, are all still living in the city and township of Havana. Their father, Jonathan Harpham, came to Mason County in 1850, and died in 1852.
William Higbee is from Lexington, Ky., and came to Illinois in 1836, and located in Greene County, where he resided until 1843, when he removed to Christian County. In 1847, he removed to Quiver, and now lives at his ease in the city of Havana.
James Quick came from New Jersey to Illinois in 1841, and to Havana Township in the spring of 1842, where he still resides.
John Hurley is also from New Jersey, and removed with his father's family to Illinois in the spring of 1834, locating in De Witt County. In 1843, he came to Havana Township and located near McHarry's mill. Here he remained until 1856, when he went to Kansas, and, with Jim Lane, participated in the "border warfare" of the exciting period. He returned to this township, where he still lives. He says that he built the first house on the prairie between Havana and McHarry's mill; that he helped to "raise" McHarry's mill, and that men came eighteen and twenty miles to render assistance.
William Wallace came from Ohio in 1843, with his mother's family (his father died in Ohio), and settled in this township, where he still resides. Julius Jones also came from Ohio. He located in Menard County in 1837, and removed to Havana Township in the spring of 1842. In company with Charles Howell and William Pollard, built a saw-mill where McHarry's mill now stands, or rather on the opposite side of the creek from it, which is noticed elsewhere. A son, A. H. Jones, lives in Havana Township. Nathan Howell came from Pennsylvania in 1840, and settled in Havana Township. He has a son, B. F. Howell, still living in the town, who is a man of great physical force and endurance. He boast of having worked through every harvest for thirty-nine years, and plowed through every season, without missing a single week, Ye stripling water-spouts of this fast age, "make a note on it," as Capt. Cuttle would say.
Alenander Gray came from the "banks and braes o'Benny Doon," and followed the sea for a number of years. He settled in this township about the year 1842, and has a son, John A. Gray, now living in the town, a prosperous farmer.
Reuben Henninger, Philip Opp and Simon Frankenfield came from the old Quaker State of Pennsylvania. Henninger emigrated to Illinois, and located in Havana Township in 1842. He followed farming until 1866, when he retired from active life and moved into the city of Havana, where he has since resided. He still owns a large tract of land in the county, is a highly respected citizen, and has many descendants and relatives, who are among the active and leading citizens of the community. Opp removed to Ohio, and from the Buckeye State to Illinois in 1842, locating in Havana Township, where he still resides. Frankenfield settled in this township in 1841, where he followed farming for a few years, when he removed to the city of Havana, and engaged in tailoring, a trade he had learned in Pennsylvania. He again turned his attention to farming until 1864, when he returned to the city, and from 1866 to 1867, engaged in the dry-goods business, from which he has retired, and is now living at his ease. Peter A. Thornburg emigrated from Maryland to Illinois in 1840, and settled in Fulton County. He located in Havana Township in 1848, near where he now lives. He is still living, and is the proprietor of Peterville, a small village in the southern part of the town, which he laid out in 1868. S. C. Conwell is a native of Delaware, and came to Mason County in 1840. He located in Havana in 1848, and is one of the leading lawyers of the Mason County bar.
He is extensively mentioned in other portions of this work, and therefore but little can be said here without repetition. Charles Pulling is a native of England, but came to America with his parents in early childhood, and resided in Pennsylvania and Ohio until 1848. He then moved to Illinois and located in Havana Township, where he still lives. Isaac N. Mitchell, one of the live business men of Havana, may be termed an old settler of Mason County, but is mentioned in the history of Bath Township, where he lived for a number of years. Israel, Jesse and David Drone were from Pennsylvania. Jesse still lives in Havana, Israel in Sangamon County, and David died here. Jabez Maranville came from Fulton County here, but his native place is not known. He settled here somewhere in the thirties, and died years ago. George, William and Robert Walker, sons of James Walker, and old settler of Walker's Grove, mentioned in another chapter of this work, came here about 1839-40. They came from Indiana. George was in business here for a number of years, and now lives in Peoria; William is a lawyer and lives in Missouri; Robert and the father are dead. The latter died at an advanced age in the city of Havana. Reuben Coon came from New Jersey at an early day, but of him not much is known, further than that he died here.
This comprises a sketch of the settlement of Havana, city and township, so far as we have been able to gather facts and incidents. Although white men were in Menard County ten years or more before there was a settlement made in the present limits of Mason, yet a sufficient period of time has elapsed since the pioneer found his way to this immediate region, to involve these early settlements in some uncertainty. As one looks back over fifty years gone by, the road seems long and tedious, and, if those who have plodded over its weary miles have forgotten events that transpired in those early times, it is not strange. We have exhausted every effort to get the early history of the country correct, and believe we have it as nearly so as it is possible to obtain it at this late day.