1876 History - Bowdre Township

"Vestigria Nulla Retrorsum"
Bowdre Township has 48-1/2 square miles of territory. When Township organization was adopted in 1868, this township was called Deer Creek, after the water course of that name which traverses it, and had been a part of Collins Precinct in Coles county. At the first meeting of the Board of Supervisors it was discovered that there was a Deer Creek Township in Tazewell county, whereupon the name was changed to Bowdre, in honor of Benjamin Bowdre, who was one of the oldest settlers. He is yet living on his farm in the township. The Emharras river runs through the northeast part and receives Scattering Fork in the north. It is traversed by the Illinois Midland Railway, from the west to the southeast, a considerable deflection having been made in the line of the road that it might pass within a mile of the centre of the township, upon which condition and for other reasons, the people of the township voted bonds in aid of the road to the amount of $30,000. The legality of calling the election and of voting the bonds having been called in question, and being now in litigation, whether these bonds will finally have to be paid or not is unknown.
The town or village of Hindsboro is situated in section 6, 14, 10, and was laid out by the railroad company upon the lands of the Hinds Brothers in 1874, the plat covering about sixty-two acres. The railroad here runs about southeast and the plan of the town is in conformity with it, the principal streets being at right angles and parallel with the line of the road. The place is improving rapidly and has claims as a shipping point which can not be ignored. Here Lodge No. 571, I. O. O. F., was instituted April 12, 1875, the first officers of which were: J. Gerard, N. G.; B. F. Strader, V. G.; J. M. Dwinnell, Secretary, and Jas. Stites, Treasurer; J. Gerard, D. G. M. The present membership is 30.
The village of Bridgeport, situated in section 13, 15, 9, has a post office called Hugo, and is the scene of about the last appearance of Indians in the county, a trading store having been kept here by one Vessar in 1829-30.
Among the earlier settlers was Isaac Davidson, who arrived in 1838, and is still living on his farm, section 19, 15, 9. Jas. A. Breeden, built the first house between the Okaw timber, eight miles to the west, and the well known "Wallace Stand," west of Hickory Grove. He settled in 1853 on section 9, 14, 9, where he still lives. The "Wallace Stand" was the residence of the family of A. G. Wallace, of Tuscola, who was the first Circuit Clerk of the county, a position he held by re-election for over twelve years.
John Davis, Shiloah Gill, John Barnet and others lived here in the years of the early settlers. John Barnet — called "Jack" by everybody — came from Kentucky to the Little Vermillion in 1832, and to his present residence, then Coles county, in 1842. The life partners of several well known prominent citizens were taken from his family. John Davis, the father of Issachar Davis the present County Surveyor, entered his land in 1833, and arrived in the State from Brown county, Ohio, in September, 1834. He died March 5, 1865. A residence of thirty years in this township had earned him the respect and confidence of all. Shiloah Gill arrived here in 1852 and settled on land which had been entered by his father in 1833.
Lines L. Parker, of this township, was elected Sheriff of Vermillion county in 1856, and removed to Douglas in 1868. Mr. Parker is the largest man in the county, his weight being 336 pounds. He is, nevertheless, notable for physical vigor. He served as a commissioned officer in company "D" 25th Illinois in the war of 1861.
At the February term — 1871 — of Douglas Circuit Court, O. P. Greenwood was indicted for the murder of Geo. Musset, near Hugo, (Bridgeport.) He met him in the woods and shot him. Greenwood was tried in Charleston, Coles county, on a change of venue, and sentenced to the penitentiary for twenty-one years. He had surrendered himself to the officers and as there was some probability of self defense as well as of justification in the ease, domestic difficulty being the cause of the quarrel, and extenuating circumstances generally, a petition has latelv been in circulation praying for his pardon.
The Supervisors who have represented the interests of the township at the county seat are: Benjamin Bowdre, who was elected in 1868 and returned in 1869. He was succeeded by Oliver P. Hunt, in 1870, who was re-elected in 1871 and again in 1872. Marvin Y. Coykendall was the Supervisor in 1873-74-75. The present Supervisor is F. M. Reeds, who arrived in Coles county in 1848, being elected to his present position in the spring of 1876.
Issachar Davis was elected County Surveyor in November, 1863, and again in 1867, and the third time in 1875, the first two being terms of two years each. Under the Constitution of 1870 it has become a term of four years.
The population of the township per 9th Census, 1870, was 1,313. The present population is probably 1,500.
Acres in the township cultivated - 29,201
Acres in the township not cultivated – 1,737
Town lots, Hindsboro - 62
Total acres - 31,000

Extracted 11 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Douglas County, Illinois, Compiled by Order of the Board of Supervisors for the Centennial Anniversary of American Independence, July 4, 1876, pages 68-70.

Templates in Time