When The White Man Came...
... in 1819 to this land of central Sangamon County, the Pottawantanie
Indians called it "Sangamo" -- the river and land of plenty.
John Clary, the first to explore the area, spent that first lonely winter
near a creek in a crude three sided shack. In the open side a constant fire
burned to help ward off the cold.
With the spring came more settlers to this place called Clary's Grove on
Clary's Creek (a few miles north of present town of Tallula, Illinois).
The overflow of this continuous stream of settlers pushed on north or
northwest. Those who chose to go north followed the west bank of the Sangamon River
locating on a large sand ridge which later became Sandridge Precinct.
Those traveling northwest, followed Little Grove and Clary's Creeks locating
on the bluff overlooking the Sangamon which became known as Pecan Bottoms.
It is uncertain just who first settled in Sandridge Precinct as the Jesse
Armstrong, William Sampson and Royal Potter families all claim this honor. They
were all situated by 1820.
In the meantime, Jesse and George Miller built a ferry at the northern most
tip of the precinct on the bank of the Sangamon. As late as 1834, mail and
stage service from Springfield to Warren County Courthouse went by way of Millers'
Ferry. Eventually, Kay Watkins bought the ferry, probably from the Millers,
and operated it until after the turn of the century as Watkins's Ferry.
Copyright © 2007 Jeanie Lowe & contributors
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