1879 History of Menard & Mason Counties
Published by: O.L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers
186 Dearborn Street

Mason County

Manito Township
Page 587

He who attempts to present with unvarying accuracy the annals of a county, or even of a district no larger than a township, the history of which reaches back through a period of more than a quarter of a century, imposes upon himself a task beset with difficulties on every hand. These difficulties are often augmented by statements widely at variance, furnished by early settlers and their descendants as data from which to compile a true and faithful record of past events. To claim for a work of this character perfect freedom from the slightest inaccuracies would be simply to arrogate to one's self that degree of wisdom which alone resides in the councils of the omniscient I Am. If, therefore, kind read, the time and place of recorded events may not, in every particular, agree with your individual opinion, please bear in mind we will ever incline to those statements which seem supported by the greater weight of testimony. To give FACTS, and facts only, should be the highest aim and ambition of every writer who professes to deal with incidents of the past. This shall be our goal, this our guiding-star. How well the task shall be performed, we submit to the judgment of a discriminating public. The township of Manito is situated in the northeast corner of Mason County, and comprises within its present limits a little more than forty-five sections. It is somewhat irregular in shape, being eight miles in extent along its northern boundary line, by nine miles north and south along its eastern boundary line. The extreme west line of the township is but four miles in extent from north to south. With the exception of two or three small groves in the north and northwestern portions of the township, the entire area of Manito Township is prairie. The central, eastern and southeastern portions are somewhat flat, yet for the most part easily susceptible of drainage. When the first settlers came, much of these portions were denominated swamp-lands, but these, by artificial drainage, have been converted into the most productive farms within her limits. And where once wild geese and ducks in countless numbers swam lazily about amidst the rank-growing rushes or floated calmly and undisturbed upon the stagnant waters, may now be seen finely cultivated fields teeming with the fast-ripening harvest. The soil in this portion of the township is of a deep black loam, freely intermixed with sand, but is exceedingly fertile and productive. Indeed, such a vast amount of corn, oats, rye and wheat is annually produced in this portion of Manito and those adjacent to it, that the citizens have for many years recognized the propriety of designating it as their Egypt. Corn, however, is the staple product of this, as well as most other portions of the county. No tortuous stream courses it way through the township. Water, however, is easily obtained even in the highest portions at a depth of from twenty to thirty feet. A hollow, pointed iron tube, one and one-half inches in diameter, with slottings near the point for the admission of water, is driven to the required depth below the surface, and, when once a vein is tapped, an inexhaustible supple is afforded. In this manner, a "drove-well" thirty feet deep can be begun and completed in a few hours' time. The northwestern and western portions of the township varies in its surface configurations from that which we have described. The soil is of a somewhat different character, the lighter colored and more argillaceous subsoil appearing at or near the surface. The surface is a plane of higher elevation and is somewhat broken and hilly. It is, however, quite productive and yields fine crops of corn. One peculiar characteristic of the soil is that it can withstand excessive drought or long continued wet weather better than that portion known as Egypt. The greatest drawback to this section is its lack of pasturage and meadow lands. Farmers are necessitated to feed their stock throughout the entire year and to procure their hay from a distance, varying from twelve to fifteen miles. In position, this township lies north of Forest City Township, east of Quiver Township, south and west of Tazewell County. Passing from the topography of the township, we enter it once upon that period of its history pertaining to its early settlement.

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