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

Mason County

Allen's Grove Township
Page 603

This division is on the eastern line of the county, and is known as Township 21 and 22 north, Range 5 west of the Third Principal Meridian. It embraces in its limits thirty-six full sections-a Congressional Township-but does not exactly coincide with the Congressional survey. In establishing the boundaries of the townships, the southern tier of sections of Town 21, Range 5, was included in Mason City Township, and the southern tier of Town 22, same range, was made the northern limit of Allen's Grove Township. The position of the township is north of Mason City Township, east of Pennsylvania Township, south of Tazewell County and west of Logan County. Excepting two or three copses or groves of timber of limited extent, which stand out in the prairie like islands in the ocean, the entire area of the township is prairie land. The most important of these is Allen's Grove, from which the township took its name. It comprises about five hundred acres, mostly in Section 9, and is the point in and around which the early settlements in the township were made. In an early day, before the clear, ringing note of the woodman's ax was heard reverberating throughout its aisles and along its corridors, much timber, valuable for building and other purposes, was here found. At present, but little that is valuable, except for fencing and firewood, remains, Swamp Grove, in the northwest corner, and Lake Grove, on Sections 19 and 20, are of far less importance, and contain no valuable timber. These three groves, together with a portion of Cherry Grove, on the line between Mason City and Allen's Grove Townships, constitute the entire woodland districts of this section. No natural water-course is found in any portion of the township. Norton's Lake, in Section 23, occupying the space of about one hundred and twenty acres, is the only body of water of any consequence within its limits. This is a place of resort for bathing and fishing. The eastern and southern sections of the township are well adapted to the growth of vegetables, corn, wheat, rye, barley and oats. The soil is of a somewhat sandy nature, very similar in character to that found in adjacent townships and in the western part of Logan County. To the willing husbandman it yields rich and bounteous harvests. The northwestern portion is low and level, and is embraced within the district known as swamp-lands. By a system of artificial drainage much of this has been rendered arable, and when sufficiently drained for farming purposes it is found to be highly productive, possessing a soil of almost exhaustless fertility. In the past few years, many fine farms have been opened up in this heretofore discarded section of the township. The early settlers found this portion of the county covered with tall grass and the flower-producing weeds. In the summer, the plains seemed an ocean of flowers of various hues, gracefully waving to the breezes that swept over them. In the language of poesy it may be fitly said that
"Travelers entering here, behold around
A large and spacious plain on every side.
Strewed with beauty, whose fair grassy mound
Mantled with green, and goodly beautified
With all the ornaments of Flora's pride."

The township contains two villages, San Jose and Natrona, the history of which will be given in detail at the close of this chapter. The Jacksonville Branch of the C. & A. Railway enters the township near the northeast corner of Section 1, and, traversing it in a general southwestern direction, leaves it near the center of the southern boundary of Section 28, giving about seven miles of read-bed to the township. That we find the eastern portion of the county but sparsely settled until recently, when compared with other sections, is doubtless owing to the fact that a large district of swamp-land, occupying the more central portion of the county, completely cut off the eastern settler from Havana, the only shipping-point, at that time, for his various products. The absence of timber and water-course also exercised a retarding influence over the early settlement. Not until the advent of railroads through this section, and the bringing of market-places and shipping-points to their very doors, did settlements begin to be made in rapid succession.

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