Source: "1881 History of Marion & Clinton Counties, Illinois"
Is one of the northern townships of Clinton county. After township organization it was first called Beaver, but the name soon changed at the suggestion of Mr. Henry ZIEREN to Wheatfield. It contains thirty-six sections, the whole of town three north, range three west. About one-fourth of its area is now timbered land. The timber is on the west side and along Beaver creek, which flows through the township from north to south, entering at section three and passing out at section thirty-three. Wheatfield is bounded on the north by Bond county, west by St. Rose, south by Wade and Carlyle, east by Irishtown township. The first settlements made here were in the timber along Beaver creek in the fall of 1817 and spring of 1818. The first permanent settler was William DUNN, who located on section three. March 19, 1818, he entered the west half of the south-west quarter of the above section, where he improved a farm and resided until his death. He raised a family, and now has grand-children living in the county.
Feb. 23, 1818, Jesse HENNING entered the west half of the north-east quarter of section fifteen. He built his cabin on the north-west bank of Beaver creek. In the early times there was a ford here, known as Henning's ford, long since abandoned.
About 1820, Ignatius ANDERSON came into the township. Aug. 4th, 1825, he entered the west half of the south-west quarter of section eleven, where he made an improvement and lived for a number of years. He then moved to Madison county, Ills., and in 1836 returned to this neighborhood and improved a farm on the west side of the creek, where he resided until his death, about 1844. He had a son killed near the bank of Beaver creek by Hiram HAWLEY. The two had some difficulty, and both made threats. They afterwards met in the timber one day, HAWLEY stepped behind a tree, and ANDERSON squatted down behind a stump. After remaining in this position for some time, ANDERSON stuck his head above the stump to see what HAWLEY was doing. HAWLEY had a bead drawn on Anderson's position, and at the sight of his head, immediately fired. The ball passed through Anderson's head, and he soon expired. As the men were alone in the woods, we give Hawley's version of the affair, who stood trial and came clear. He afterwards lived in the township a number of years, and then moved to Texas.
Thomas SLOO, Jr., settled in the south part of Wheatland, on section thirty-three, in the fall of 1817. The following spring he entered eighty acres of land in this section, where he made an improvement. He only lived here a short time. John COOK built a cabin on the west side of Beaver creek, near the SLOO place, at an early date. He was an eccentric character, fond of hunting and fishing, and never improved a farm. He made gunpowder, and sold to the early settlers a very necessary article that found ready sale, thereby deriving a livelihood.
Johnson RAINEY, a Tennesseean, located on the south-west part of section twenty-four in 1829. Wm. RAINEY, his son, also made an improvement near by about the same time.
Jesse NORMAN, a native of South Carolina, came here in 1829, and bought the improvements on section twenty-three of a "squatter" named Jesse PHILIPPS. NORMAN lived in this county until his death in 1844. His only son, now living, Jason NORMAN, is a resident of Wheatfield, and the oldest living settler now residing in the township, having live here fifty-two years. He located on the place where he now lives, on section twenty-four, in 1847. At that time there was not a house between his place and Carlyle.
Ross NETTLES was the first to venture out into the prairie. He settled where he now resides, on section thirty-six, in 1857. He is a native of Pennsylvania and was considered a little reckless by the old citizens when he began his improvements here in the wild prairie, and was often told by them that he would soon find prairie farming would prove a failure; but his judgment proved the fallacy of their predictions, as the prairies are among the richest lands. In company with Jesse NORMAN came Captain James HILL and William ALEXANDER. HILL settled on the west side of Beaver creek, section thirty-three, where he lived a short time, then moved to what is now Irishtown township, and afterwards moved often in different parts of the county. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and received a pension. His death occurred in the county about two years ago. ALEXANDER located south of where HILL first settled in what is now Wade township, and subsequently moved to Missouri. In the fall of 1829 came Robert NORMAN, father of Jesse NORMAN, Berryman HUSK, Thomas NORMAN, Elijah NORMAN, John NORMAN, James MCCULLOUGH, and the Widow CLAY. They all had families, and located in the south part of the township, near Beaver Creek. They were from Tennessee. Robert NORMAN was quite an old man when he came here and only lived about five years.
James MYERS, a brother-in-law of Ignatius ANDERSON, came into the township in 1832; he bought the improvements ANDERSON made on section eleven in 1825, where he resided until his death.
William WATKINS moved to Wheatfield in 1830; three years later he entered forty acres in section five, where he improved a small farm.
Daniel GRIFFITH made an improvement in the west part of the township about 1830. In 1833 he entered some land in section eighteen, where he made a farm in the edge of Shoal creek timber.
Asa ENTREKIN, a native of Kentucky, settled on the west of Beaver creek in 1834; he was a blacksmith and wagon-maker, and a very useful citizen; he subsequently improved a farm on section twenty-seven, and one on twenty-eight; he died a the latter place in 1864.
In 1834, Jesse R. FORD, a Kentuckian, came here; he first settled on the east side of the creek on section twenty-seven; he afterwards improved a farm in section twenty-one, where he lived until 1877; he then moved to Carlyle, where he now resides. He is a minister of the Baptist church.
William HULL, a native of Virginia, located in the north-west part of the township in 1835; he came to the county a single man, and afterwards married here; he was a large farmer, and gathered about him considerable property; his death took place on his old homestead. Three of his sons are now farmers of the township. Other early settlers are Adam YINGST, William OGLE, William PURYER, John NORRIS, William COLE, Josiah AUSTIN, Joshua SHARP, Jackson EDWARDS, William and Joseph NICHOLS. The two latter were blacksmiths.
The first school-house stood near the west bank of Beaver creek on section twenty-two. It was a log building erected in 1841, and The Rev. J. R. FORD taught the first school here; he taught school in the abandoned cabins in the settlement as early as 1834.
The first preaching was at the cabin of William Dunn's by the itinerant preachers of the Methodist denomination.
The first church house was a log building, and stood about one mile east of William Dunn's, near the east bank of Beaver creek. It belonged to the Methodist denomination.
Beaver creek took its name from the fact that beavers were found quite plentiful in this stream in the early settlement of the country as late as 1825. Trappers caught them near where William DUNN lived in sufficient numbers to make it a paying business.
Sparks' post-office is in the western part of the township, with Fritz HEDERHOST as post-master. The office is kept at his farm residence.
Wheatfield is strictly a rural township, not a village within the limits, not even a blacksmith shop.
The following gentlemen have represented the township in the Board of Supervisors: Jason NORMAN was elected in 1874. It was then Beaver township. Thomas FORD was elected in 1875. Ross NETTLES was elected in 1876, and served until 1879, when L. S. LAMB was elected, and has served up to the present time.
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