Source: "1881 History of Marion & Clinton Counties, Illinois"
This township is a creation of what was a part of Carlyle, when township organization took place in 1874. In 1875, Wade and Clement were severed from Carlyle, the former being the western portion of said precinct. It is mostly undulating prairie land, with a belt of timber extending through the western portion of its territory. Beaver Creek, which flows in from the north, enters the township in section 4, and takes a south-westerly course and passes out in the south-west corner in section 31. All along the creek, on either side, there is plenty of good timber, especially on the west.
Wade is bounded on the north by the town of Wheatfield, on the east by Carlyle, on the south by Santa Fe, and west by Breese, and contains 18,000 acres. Carlyle prairie extends entirely through the township from north to south, and constitutes the larger portion of the land in the precinct. Beaver Creek prairie also occupies several sections in the north-west. The Ohio & Mississippi railroad passes through the center of the township extending east and west. Splendid farms, and farm improvements dot the landscape on every hand. What a change since its first settlement, which occurred in 1817, at which time the untamed Indian was chasing through the timber and cantering over the prairie in search of wild game that was then so plenty in the country.
Samuel B. WATKINS, was what could undoubtedly be called the pioneer of this township. This was early 1817. He was a native of Tennessee, and a regular backwoodsman, rough and untamed in character, almost as the Indians themselves. He prided himself in the name of being, in the language of Jack Stackpole, in the romance entitled the "Nick of the Woods," the "ringtail squealer of these yer parts," and were he living at this time, he would consider this notice of his character as being a great compliment. His advent in the state was as early as 1812, when he stopped for a time in St. Clair county, and came here as above stated, and squatted in the timber near Beaver Creek. His house was simply a hunter's pole-cabin, papered largely on the outside with the skins of wild animals. He had no family but a wife. Both died many years ago.
Probably the next to settle here was Samuel BROWN, a native of Kentucky. He entered his land on the last day of the year 1817, and soon afterwards took possession by moving on it with his family. This was on section 17, in the central western part of the township, not far from Beaver Creek. Samuel was the son of George BROWN, who settled in Santa Fe precinct early in 1817. The former had a family of a wife and two daughters. He died in 1820, leaving his wife in comfortable circumstances.
Another old settler by the name of Christopher LEARNING, came about the same time as Mr. BROWN, and entered the west half of the south-east quarter of section 29. He lived here but a short time, when he moved to parts unknown. His place was known as "Learning Hill."
John SMITH came as early as 1819, and settled on section 5. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and migrated here with a large family, six boys and two girls. None of the family are now living in the county. A Mr. BRANSTETTER was another pioneer. He squatted in the north-western part of the township. He came with a small family, but moved to other parts many years ago. Among other old settlers, though of later date, were John CLABAUGH in 1828; M. J. O'HARNETT, same date; David CLABAUGH in 1837, who married Miss Nancy St. Clair SHARP, born in the county in 1823; and O. B. NICHOLS, who came here in 1837.
The first real farm improvement made, was by Samuel BROWN, on his advent in the year above stated; all prior to that were mere squatters or hunters. The first house built, known to any one in these times, was the pole-cabin, the property of Samuel B. WATKINS, the pioneer hunter of Tennessee. The first frame house constructed was built by Oliver MADDUX and situated about three-fourths of a mile south of the little station of Buxton. This was in 1834. Prior to this, nothing but log-houses dotted the territory. The first regular school taught was by Hugh L. WHITE, in about 1832. The house was a little log concern, improvised for the occasion, and situated in the south-western part of the township
Among the early preachers of the gospel were Robert CARTER, Joshua BOND, Jesse HALE, and Simeon WALKER. The Methodist denomination prevailed wholly at that time, and church services were held in the private houses of the neighborhood. The places of interment in this precinct, from time immemorial to the present, have been only private burial places. Of these there are several in the township.
Probably the first marriage ceremony took place in 1823, the contracting parties being John. N. MOORE and Mildred S. BROWN. The officiating party was Absalom YARBROUGH, justice of the peace. Jonathan SHARP and Zachariah MADDUX were also among the early justices.
The following are some of the earliest land entries made in this township; - November 1, 1816, Thomas WATKINS entered N. E. ¼ section 8, 160 acres; December 3, 1817, David PIERCE entered E. ½ N. E. ¼ section 7, 80 acres; on same day, Levi JAMES entered W. ½ S. E. section 35, 80 acres; December 31, 1817, Samuel BROWN entered E. ½ S. E. ¼ section 17, 80 acres; January 24, 1818, Christopher LEARNING entered W. ½ S. E. ¼ of section 29, 80 acres.
This township, although among the last where real permanent settlements were made, is now considered among one of the best for farming purposes in the county. Splendid farms and thriving farmers are well represented within its borders. The roads and bridges are kept in good condition, which is one of the best evidences of the thrift and enterprise of its people. The population, according to the census 1880, was 751.
The following is a list of the names of the supervisors who have represented the township since its organization: O. B. NICHOLS, elected in 1875, and served two terms; William LUTZ, elected in the spring of 1877, and served one term; Jonathan SHARP was elected in 1878, and served till 1879; S. E. TUTTLE, elected in the spring of 1879, served one term; Philip EDER, elected in 1880, re-elected in 1881, and is the present incumbent.
Buxton, a way station on the Ohio and Mississippi railroad, is situated four miles west of the county seat. It was laid out into town lots by Zophar CASE, in 1866, and named Buxton by him in honor of H. P. BUXTON, who was then an attorney for the railroad. Mr. BUXTON lives in Carlyle, and is the senior member of the law firm Buxton & White. Buxton once contained a small store, but it has bee disposed of. Indeed, it is too closely situated to the county seat to form much of a town. It still retains a post-office, and affords this convenience to the people of the surrounding country. The present post-master's name is Richard WADE. According to the records, the would-be-town formerly belonged to the following parties, as the record reads: "W. H. MADDUX, David CLABAUGH, Elisha SHARP, F. W. CARTER, George SHUMWAY and John LAPHAM, proprietors of Buxton." It is situated on section 21, and the deed of the real estate was made by James MARTON and wife to Elisha SHARP. When the country shall become thickly settled, which it eventually must be, then may Buxton become one of Clinton county's neat little village.
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