Monday, November 25, 2019

The History of Chauncey as Told by Mrs Gertrude Phillips Part One

The Sumner Press December 3, 1963 The History of Chauncey

At a recent meeting of Chauncey PTA, the subject chosen was Our Community’s Past. Mrs. Gertrude Phillips, chairman of the program committee, delved into the church records, Lawrence County history as revealed at the county seat, and talked to many of the oldest residents of our community. 

The Chauncey section had an abundance of good timber when the early settlers arrived.  The trees they felled and burned to get them out of the way would be worth fortunes today, especially the many walnut trees.  Bears once roamed the fields. Of deer, there were plenty. One place east of Chauncey is referred to as "Deer Pen" because of the many killed there long ago.

The Indians, who lived on the bank of the slough on what is now the Max Rodrick Jr. farm, belonged to the Kickapoos, a peace- loving tribe.  Some of the best Indian relics of the state were found there and have been placed in museum.

The first settler in this particular part of Petty Township was Peter Pargin.  His log cabin stood in what is now Mrs. Emma Paddick’s garden.  He killed at least one bear and tradition credits him with more.  For years, the slough was known as “Pargin’s Slough.”

The settlers in Chauncey vicinity were mostly English, who came here via Ohio. The first deed recorded was to David Watts.  The land office was at Palestine and he received it through that office.  The land is where Harley Mushrush now lives. 

There was an old buffalo trail from Vincennes where they forded the river and then went west to Chauncey.  Another trail came from the north, and where they crossed seemed a logical place for a settlement.

Another early name no longer found in the community is that of Munn.  Mr. Munn must have been quite a leading citizen, because the first school was call Munn School.  There is disagreement over just where it stood, but it was not far from Chauncey crossroads, either to the east or south. The Chauncey cemetery was first called the Munn cemetery.

Other early names were Bach, Barnes, Smith, Hughes, Wyatt, Rosborough, Maynard, Mushrush, Paddick, Goodman, Waggoner and Stout.  The Rosborough's came from Tennessee and are the only ones now known who formerly owned slaves.  They migrated first to Gibson County, Indiana, where they freed their slaves before coming on to Illinois.  Later some of the family went back to visit a young former slave who had been the age of their own son, Jimmie, and found him a prosperous negro farmer.

Mrs. Phillips told the very interesting story of her own ancestors, the Goodman’s, relating incidents that occurred in England, on the boat and in the Illinois wilderness.

The first church organized in this community was the Chauncey Methodist Protestant.  It existed as a church group long before they had a building. It certainly was organized by 1853.  When time came to build a church, there was a rather bitter disagreement over where it should be located.  The Waggoner cemetery, a mile north, across the Crawford County line, was already in existence, and many felt the church should be built near it.  The first load of lumber was unloaded west of the Waggoner Cemetery, but later reloaded and hauled to where the old Methodist Protestant Church still stands. Many felt that if there was going to be a settlement there, the church should be there also.