1876 History - Sargent Township

“Macte Virtute."
Sargent Township consists of fifty-two sections of land in the southeast part of the county and has an area of about 46-1/2 square miles, several of the so-called sections being quite small, and was once a part of Oakland Precinct in Coles county. It contains 29,813 acres, and received its name in honor of Snowdon Sargent, Esq., who was one of its earliest and most influential citizens. He made his first visit to the State in 1830, entered 400 acres of land at Palestine, and in the first years of his residence passed through with his family, all the trials and privations incident to pioneer life. He eventually became one of the largest land owners in the county, and died in 1875. Eli Sargent entered a large body of land here in 1830. Other well known original settlers were Andrew Gwin, the Reddings, Samuel Allison, Casebeer, B. F. Coykendall, I. W. Burget, Wm. Hancock, and Wm. F. Murphy. Mr. Gwin visited the Richman's the first settlers, in 1830. He has the largest farm in the county, 3,100 acres. Josephus Redding was born in Edgar county in 1829 and came to this township when two years of age. Samuel Allison arrived in 1833. Wm. Hancock was the first Assessor and Treasurer of the county, a member of the State Board of Equalization in 1867, and, living in Newman, is a member of the banking firm of Murphy, Hancock & Co. Mr. Coykendall came to Coles, now Douglas, county in 1847. I. W. Burget arrived in 1839. Since Township organization in 1868 he has served six consecutive terms as Supervisor of this towniship, in which he has a large and well improved farm. Wm. F. Murphy bought his first land here in 1850, and now has a large farm upon which valuable improvements have been made. He is the present Supervisor of the township and a member of the banking firm of Murphy, Hancock & Co., Newman.
The township of Sargent is about one-half timber, being traversed by the Embarras river, which receives Brushy Fork, a branch, in section 28, 15, 10. Deer Creek, a considerable drain, empties into the Embarras in this township.
Brushy Fork timber was a favorite place of resort for the early settlers and was the scene of some of the earliest improvements in the county.
There is no trading point of any importance in the township, the business being divided between the neighboring towns of Newman and Oakland, in Coles county, the local pet name of which is "Pin Hook." The only post office is Brushy Fork, in section 22, 15, 10, commonly called "Nipantuck." Columbus, a town, was laid out in February, 1841, on section 35, 15, 10, now unknown. The Illinois Midland Railway crosses about two miles of the township in the southwest corner, passing through Oakland in Coles county, which, being near, is equivalent to railroad facilities, and routes for several proposed roads which cross a portion of its area have been surveyed.
Sargent Township enjoys the distinction of being the only township in the county which has no voted railroad debt as a township. In population it is the smallest in the county. The number of inhabitants per Ninth Census, 1870, was 1,035.
Acres in the township cultivated - 28,156
Acres in the township not cultivated – 1,657
Total acres - 29,813
The following citizens have been charged with the care of the county public business: Wm. Hancock was the first Assessor and Treasurer of Douglas county, having been elected in 1859. Jas. H. Shawhan was elected to the office of Sheriff, in 1871, to fill the unexpired term of Cooper, who had left the country. Of Supervisors, I. W. Burget was the first, having been elected in 1868, re-elected in 1869-70-71-72-73. He was succeeded by S. M. Long in 1874, who was again returned in 1875. The present Supervisor is Wm. F. Murphy, who was elected in 1876.

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 75-76.

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