Illustrated Atlas Map of Menard County, Illinois 1874|
Published by W.R. Brink & Co., of Illinois
John Clary was the first permanent settler of this precinct. He settled the place now owned by George Spears, Sr., in 1819. A little later came Thomas Watkins, James White, Cyrus Kirby, Joseph Watkins, George Greene, Jacob and Jesse Greene, and Robert Conover. These all settled in Clary's Grove (so named from Mr. Clary) from 1820 to 1822. George Spears came in 1824. He purchased the Clary farm of Mr. Thomas Watkins. Three years afterward he entered it and put up a brick residence in which he yet lives. This building was finished in 1829, and was the first brick dwelling-house of any consequence within Sangamon County, and was considered at the time the finest residence in the County. From 1824 to the deep snow of 1830 and 1831, there came William Smedley, Samuel Colwell, John H. Spears, Zarel C. Spears, John Kinner, Abram Bell, James W. Simpson and Andrew Beard. Up to 1840 there had come John Gum, Sr., Joseph Cottington, William T. Beekman, Theodore Baker, and Elias Conover. Mr. Conover was the first gentleman who ventured to settle out in the prairie, where he planted a grove. Mr. Clary built the first house, and opened the first farm. Solomon Revis put up a band horse-mill in 1821, the first mill in the precinct. James Fletcher taught the first school, in a log school-house located on the lands of George Spears. Robert Armstrong was the first justice of the peace. The first church was of the United Baptist order, and was organized by Rev. W. Crow, Rev. James Rowland, and Rev. Mr. Bradley. This is the oldest church of its kind in central Illinois, and is yet a strong body. It built the first house of worship.
The settlers of this precinct were principally from Kentucky, and the only pioneers left are Mr. George Spears, Sr., and wife. They were married in Kentucky in 1824, and have lived together fifty years in the most exemplary manner. The 19th of last August (1874), in a "golden wedding," they celebrated their half-century-ago marriage day. Long may they yet be spared to their County, church, and children!