Monday, March 30, 2015

Lawrence County as Part of the Vincennes District

Genealogists, in researching the migration patterns of their families, often rely on land records.  So let us review the research of Land Records in Lawrence County.  If you go to our courthouse the recorded deeds begin in 1821. That does not mean people just starting living here in 1821.

A short history lesson just in case you were sleeping in class that day in high school…..In the last half of the 17th century Marquette, Hennepin, Joliet and LaSalle explored the county drained by the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and their tributaries and claimed the land for the French empire in the new world.  About 1720 Sieur de Vincennes established a post on the lower Wabash. French families from Canada settled around the post as did French soldiers and traders. In 1742 a treaty with the Indians transferred all land in present day Knox county and a southern portion of Sullivan county and some lands on the west side of the Wabash to the French. This was to be known as the Vincennes District. After Clark’s ‘conquest’ during the Revolutionary War, the land in the area became part of the new American republic.  

During the French and British control, this land was occupied and ‘owned’ by French and British citizens. After the American conquest and while Vincennes was commanded by the governor from Virginia, further disposition of the lands were made.  Then after the organization of the Northwest Territory in 1787 the disposal of the lands was regulated by Congress. (This is how Toussaint Dubois Sr came to have 1020 acres called the Shoals that later became Lawrenceville.)   By this time, all these different authorities granting land as the ‘spoils of war’ without a lot of concern who might have owned it before, began to affect the titles to this land.

In 1791 Congress passed a land law trying to clear up any confusion as to the land in the Vincennes District. This law provided: 
  •  That 400 acres of land should be given to the head of each family residing at Vincennes or in the Illinois country in the year 1783.
  •   That a tract of land containing  5,400 acres near  Vincennes, which had been under fence and used as a pasture for 30 years should be given to the inhabitants of Vincennes to be used by them as a common until otherwise disposed of by law.
  •  That the governor of the territory be authorized to donate a tract of land of 100 acres to each man who on the 1st of Aug 1780 was enrolled in the militia, had done militia duty, and had not received a donation;
  •    That the governor upon application should confirm to heads of families, the lands which they may have possessed and which may have been allotted to them according to the usages of the government under which they had respectively settled;
  •   That where lands had been actually cultivated and improved at Vincennes or in the Illinois country under a supposed grant of the same by any commandant or court claiming authority to make such grant, the governor might confirm such claim not exceeding 400 acres per person. 

 The land described in #1 above was known as a donation; the land described in #3 above was known as a Militia donation; and the last as a survey.  Records pertaining to some land situated in what is now Lawrence County, was then a part of the Vincennes District and fell under these provisions.

Due to the lack of authority of the court about 1802, portions of land from 40 leagues west and 30 east of the Wabash River were purchased by speculators and sold fraudulently to eastern settlers in Virginia.  Gen Harrison in a letter to James Madison  dated Jan 1802 stated that upwards of 500 persons had settled  on these lands in consequence of these frauds. A large amount of litigation rose from this condition and it was several years before the claims were investigated and settled. Nevertheless the fact that this land got into the hands of speculators and was offered for sale in Virginia to prospective home seekers no doubt explains why some of the first settlers may have come from Virginia. 

For more on this topic see:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Two Men Drowned in River at Russellville 1869

Date: June 26, 1869

TWO MEN DROWNED.—By a singular coincidence two men were drowned near Russellville, Ill., on Tuesday. One, a well- known farmer named Jos. Gardner, recently became insane in consequence of domestic troubles, and on Tuesday, eluding his friends who were watching him, ran into the river and was drowned before he could be rescued.

The other, a Frenchman named Truckey, a native of Vincennes and resident of Russellville , while intoxicated, attempted to cross the river in a canoe. Losing his balance he fell overboard and was drowned.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Date: February 18, 1860

EXCITING AFFAIR IN CHURCH.—A correspondent furnishes us the particulars of an affair which occurred at Sumner, Ill, on last Sunday, causing the utmost excitement. During the morning service, when the house was crowded, and the preacher in the middle of his discourse, a young man named William Barlow, seated in the congregation, attempted to commit suicide by cutting his throat with a pocket knife. He first cut the principal artery in each arm and them inflicted a horrible gash in the throat, aiming, no doubt, to cut the jugular vein, but not knowing its precise location, missed it.
The attempt was supposed to have been caused by temporary insanity, super-induced by religious excitement. He will probably recover.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Good Samaritan Shot 1865

No good deed goes unpunished.......

Date: March 4, 1865

Yesterday afternoon, about 3 o'clock, Mr. Jesse L. Groves, a farmer living in Allison prairie, Ill., about three miles west of our city, was shot with a revolver, in the hands of a drunken man, whose name we did not learn, but who is said to be a fireman on the O. and M. R. R. The perpetrator with one or two companions, all intoxicated, crossed over the ferry at the foot of Main street, and on reaching the Illinois shore, he fell into the river. Mr. Groves, who happened to be near, pulled him out, but as soon as he regained his feet, he drew a revolver on Mr. G. and aimed at his head. The pistol was knocked aside, but the fellow again pulled the trigger and shot Mr. G. in the abdomen, cutting the intestines and the ball lodging, it is thought, near the spine. The wound will probably prove mortal. The murderer was arrested and taken to Lawrenceville.

Mr. Groves recently moved to this section from Aurora, Ind., and is a worthy man and good citizen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Death of Prominent Lawyer 1861

Publication: THE WEEKLY VINCENNES WESTERN SUN        Date: March 23, 1861
L. Abernathy, a prominent citizen of Lawrenceville , Ill ., died in that place a few days since.
Publication: VINCENNES GAZETTE       Date: March 23, 1861
On the 15th inst., L. ABERNATHY, Esq., of Lawrenceville , Ill ., (died) in the 38th year of his age.
We have the solemn task in this issue, of recording the demise of Mr. LUNENBURG ABERNATHY, of this place, aged 38 years. His short period of professional life, as a lawyer, was attended with much success and a promising and lucrative practice. The legal fraternity have lost one whose place will probably not soon be filled. He always exerted himself in behalf of the interests of the country, and long identified his name with the orders of Masons and Sons of Temperance, and advocated with zeal and ability the ascendency of high and moral principles, as the basis of all good society and permanent prosperity. He was a member of the Christian Church, and exhibited all the evidences of the character of a Christian. It is a serious matter to part with the aged, who have run their race, but it is with deep sadness that we bid adieu to those who are just starting in life, surrounded with fair prospects of honors, and the attainment of enviable positions among their fellows.
We assure the bereaved family and relatives, that those who were his friends share with their loss and extend a hand of sympathy to them.—Western Globe .
 Note from earlier blog:  The oldest son of Hardaway and Martha Abernathy was Lunenburg who married Eleanor Smith and together they had  7  children. A practicing attorney,  he was appointed County Clerk and later elected Superintendent of Schools for Lawrence County in 1857.  He helped his mother get a divorce in 1844 charging his father as a habitual drunkard  who beat the mother and sold the clothes she made for the children to buy ardent spirits.   

Monday, March 23, 2015

Obit for A S Badollett 1861

The following is an obituary for A S Badollet.  He owned the land where the Lawrenceville Cemetery is.  While no stone has been found for him, his daughter is buried in the old section of that cemetery.    

Date: February 23, 1861

Sydney Badolet, Esq., for many years a resident of Lawrenceville, Ills., died at his residence on Friday evening last. He was much respected by large number of friends and relations.

Date: March 2, 1861

WHEREAS, It has pleased an All-wise Architect of the Universe, in his dispensation of human affairs, to remove by death from our midst our friend and worthy Brother, ALGERON SIDNEY BADOLLET, who departed this life on the 15th inst., at 6 o'clock, P. M. Therefore,

Resolved, That in the sudden death of this excellent Brother, we recognize the hand of an All-Wise Creator, to whose Divine will, we bow in humble submission.

Resolved second, That in the life of brother BADOLLET we recognized the peaceful, law-abiding citizen, friend and neighbor—ever faithful to promote whatever appeared to him calculated to advance the public good; and that in his lamented death, community has lost a reliable and useful citizen, and the Masonic Order a true friend and worthy brother.

Resolved third, That we greatly sympathize With the family and friends of the deceased, in this their great loss, and that we cordially extend to them our heartfelt condolence.

Resolved fourth, That a copy of the foregoing Preamble and Resolutions, sealed with the Seal of the Lodge, be presented to the family of our well beloved brother.

L. MCLEAN.} Committee.

Upon motion, ordered, That the Secretary of the Lodge furnish a copy of the foregoing to the Lawrenceville Globe and Vincennes Gazette, with a request that the same be published.

L. MCLEAN, Sec'y.

Editor: Information from J King:  Note that Presbyterian minister John B. Say/Saye was part of the Masonic service in Lawrenceville for Algeron Sidney Badollet.  Rev Saye later helped organize the Masonic Hall in Bridgeport, along with soon- to- be Civil War Capt Thomas Baldwin.  Rev Saye was described as a "profound Copperhead" and was fired by his Presbyterian congregations in Lawrence Co in the early 1860s. He served as the Lawrence Co Superintendent of Schools during the Civil War years, before he moved to Springfield after the end of the War. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March Program March 23, 2015 Civil War Photographers

March Program!

Civil War Photographers: Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner and Others
 By Phil Lewis, Presenter
 March 23, 2015 7:00 pm at the museum
12th and State Streets, Lawrenceville, Il 62439

This Power Point presentation focuses on the Art of photography and Civil War photographers with pictures of battlefields and  the carnage of war.   Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, Timothy Sullivan, and as well as Southern photographers, brought the visual story of the war to the general public as never before.  Most Americans of the era thought the war would be over in a few months, but it lasted four, long painful years with nearly 750,000 Union and Confederate soldiers perishing in the bloody conflict.