Clark County is situated in the south-eastern part of the state, bordering the State of Indiana.   It is twenty four miles long east and west and twenty one broad, bounded on the North by Edgar County, east by Indiana State on the Wabash River, south by Crawford and west by Cumberland and Coles counties.   The Wabash River, navigable for steamboats, flows along the south-eastern margin of the county.   Several smaller streams flow through it, among which may be mentioned the North Fork of Embarras River, in the north-west.   The surface is diversified with prairie and timberland.   The climate is good and the soil is adapted to wheat, corn, oats, ect.

   The first settlement of Clark County was made on what is known as Union and Walnut Prairies.   It was made principally by emigrants from Kentucky, North Carolina, New York and Ohio.   The first settlements were formed in 1815 and 1816.   Among the first settlers, the following names are prominent:   Richardson, Prevo, Chester Fitch, David Hogue, Neely, Bell, Evans, Crow, Blaze, Sharp, Catron, John Welch, John Chenoweth, Poorman, Shaw, Stafford and Archer.   Evans was from North Carolina, was married three times and was the father of 25 children.   Crow was from North Carolina.   He introduced the first cotton Gin, which did good work and was much needed among the citizens, for they all raised cotton and made cloth for their own use.   The only water mill in the county was built on Big Creek near the upper crossing, on the road from Marshall to Paris.   The settlers were very friendly and obliging; neighbor assisting neighbor in everything, where assistance was needed proving in union there was strength.   Yet with all the friendship and love exhibited among the pioneers, the old Adam occasionally showed itself.   A difficulty arose between a man names Blaze and one named Sharp, concerning the mill spoken of, in which Sharp was shot and killed instantly killed instantly by Blaze, who escaped to Texas, a resort for thieves and outlaws.   This state being in a territorial court were few and far between and it was difficult to punish crime.   The state government was organized in the year 1819.   Zechariah Archer, with a family of seven children settled on the Wabash in the year 1816.   Col. W.B. Archer being his second son.   The elder Archer was of Irish descent and entered the army of the revolution at the age of 17 and continued a soldier until the end of the war.   In 1818, almost the entire population on the Wabash was sick and many children died.   There was but three men able for duty for miles around.   The first representative in congress was a man named Daniel P. Cook.   The first representative in the state legislature was judge Lowery, who was elected about the year 1822.   He was a gentleman of sterling worth, but some of his official acts in regard to the county line boundaries displeased some of the citizens and they resolved to supercede him with William B. Archer, who reluctantly left his work and consented to become an opposing candidate.   The contest was carried on with the best of feelings on both sides, resulting in the defeat of Lowry and the election of Archer by seven votes.   Judge Lowry was a Kentuckian by birth and education. At this time the county was governed by three commissioners:  Prevo and S. Ashmore were two of the first three.   These hardy settlers were subjected to many hardships and privations unknown to the present generation.   The scarcity of mills, of proper farming implements. Of schools, of churches, of comfortable dwellings, ect, rendered it a life of excessive labor and privation.   And well did they act their part.   A drone had no business in this new country, at that early day.   Hard work and rough fare was invariably the portion of the pioneer.   And it is a note worthy fact that none but the bold, venturesome, ambitions, enterprising and industrious ever seek to how out for themselves a home in a new country.   Perhaps the early settlers of Walnut and Union Prairies underwent as many hardships as did some of their fathers who first settled the wilds of Kentucky and other states.

   The personal appearance of these hardy sons of toil was rough and uncouth, yet a warm and generous heart beat within that rough exterior and no one was ever turned from their cabin doors cold and hungry.   Hard labor made a keen appetite for the corn digger and wild game.  (TO BE CONTINUED)





   In our last issue we gave the names of the first representative in congress and the first representative in the legislature.   We will now give the name of one of the first U.S. Senators from this state.   His name was Elias K. Kane.   One object we have in giving the following is for the encouragement of honorable ambition.   Elias K. Kane was a carpenter by trade and lived in the city of Washington, D.C.; but feeling that the dull monotony of shoving the jack plane did not fully satisfy the aspirations of his active and vigorous mind, resolved to leave the city of Washington and carve a name for himself in the far West.   And as he left the home of his early life, he turned big eyes toward the capitol and secretly resolved never to visit Washington again.   He made his words good and the poor carpenter that left Washington a stranger to honor, wealth and fame, came back the honored representative of the great state of Illinois.

We were misinformed as to who were the first commissioners in the county.   They were Joseph Shaw, John Chenoweth and Samuel Ashmore.   They were elected in 1819.   Isaac Parker was the first sheriff and Charles Neely the first probate judge.   The first mill in the county was a horse mill, located on Union Prairie, in the year1817 or 1818 and was owned by Jacob Blaze.   To this mill the people came from miles around to grind their corn, for be it known every man was compelled to hitch on his own team and grind out his own grist.

   Stephen Archer informs us that his father arrived on Walnut Prairie in a keel boat, unloaded his things in a double cabin that stood on a piece of land now owned by Esq. Williamson. He says he used lye hominy as a substitute for bread for six weeks, after which they ground their corn at Blaze mill.   He says he and his father made a pilgrimage to the corn cracker in winter; the snow was deep and the thermometer was ten degrees below zero.   Arriving at the mill the father took the horses into custody and directed the youthful Stephen to go to the house and warm, which he essayed to do but was met by a pack of hounds, led by a massive bull dog, and before he could be beaten off he was severely lacerate that he was compelled to go into winter quarters.  

   We also learned from Stephen Archer that Daniel Bright was the first settler in what now constitutes this county.   He was a practical hunter and a man of great energy and skill; manufacturing his own powder.   John Blake, John McClure and Cornell were among the first settlers:  William McKeen and Hugh Malone were early settlers.

   John McClure was the proprietor of the town of Darwin.   The Richardson’s and the Fitches were the proprietors of York which was laid out some time before Darwin.

   Abraham Lincoln in company with one of his neighbors, in an early day came to walnut Prairie and bought seed corn of Stephen Archer and no doubt planted it in the fields encircled by those celebrated rails of his own making.   This was the first visit Lincoln ever made to the county.   A few years later he came to Marshall electioneering for Gov. Duncan, the Whig candidate and made a speech in the old corner building situated

On the north corner of the square. He was for two weeks a guest of John Bartlett, the first resident of Marshall.   His son Archer claims the honor of beating the tall sucker in a game of quoits during his sojourn in Marshall.

Col. William B. Archer represented this county in the state legislature 18 years part of the time in the senate an no man ever lived that was more devoted to the interest of his constituents than was he.  

   The first term of the Clark Circuit court was held in Aurora, on the Wabash River, the 17th day of Sept 1819.   Thomas C. Brown, judge; Isaac Parker, sheriff; John Welsh, corner and William B. Archer, Clerk.   John M. Robinson was the first attorney qualified to practice in the courts.   In April 17, 1820, the second term was convened with the same officers except William Wilson was judge instead of Brown.

   The third term was convened at Aurora on the 18th day of September, 1820, Judge Wilson presiding.  The first grand jury was:   Samuel Prevo, Newell Leonard, Cornelius Lamb, George W.Catron, William Lockard, John Stafford, John Handay, Joseph Shaw, Zacheus Hassel, Jacob Long, Richard Armstrong, Louis Morris, John Stratton, William V. Levay, William Murphy, Enoch Davis, Abraham Snyder and Hugh Miller.   The first witness for the above grand jurors was James Coneway.

   The witnesses claiming presence at this term were:  William Whitley, William Murphy, John Stratton, David Boland, Lewis Murphy, Nineveh Shaw, Alden Winchester, Charles Patrick, Joseph Owens, William P. Bennett and Johnathan Mays.

   The first jury trial was held on the 17th day of Oct 1821.   It was the people vs Clark McCabe, indictment for assault and battery on Thoms Taylor, who pleaded not guilty when the following jury was empanelled to try the case.

   Johnathan Mays, James McGeath, Mark A. Sanders, Rezin Bell, Joseph Shaw, Newell Leonard, Josiah Black, John Blake, Daniel Lane, David Caldwell, William Perry, and Cyrus Sharp.   The witnesses were William Lockard, W.G.W. Fitch, Jr. and William B. Archer.   He was acquitted.   John M.Robinson was the first states attorney.

   William P. Bennett, the father of William P.Bennett, now proprietor of the Sherman House was one of the first settlers of York and the first lawyer in the county and a very good one at that.   Capt. Thomas Handy, now a citizen of Melrose is said to be the first white child born in the county and John A. Whitlock, now of Wheaton, IL, the first child born in Marshall.

   The early settlers were men possessing great strength.   It is a well known fact that William Hollenbeck, one of the early settlers of this county possessed remarkable strength.   Milton Lake was a celebrated wood chopper, William Haddicks and Stephen Archer as corn huskers and Henry Taylor and Sinky as rail makers.   Mr. Taylor told us that he had split 400 good oak rails walking two or three miles to work and back in the daylight.   There are some persons who claim Sinky made 600 rails a day but that fact is doubted.

   Among the first settlers mentioned are John Bartlett, Abraham Washburn, James Whitlock, James Pound, James B. Anderson, Stephen archer, and Uri Manly.   The first death was James G. Mathews.

   The county seat of Clark County (Marshall) is located on a beautiful swell of land, 127 feet above Terre Haute, Indiana, and is the highest point of land between that place and Vandalia as determined by government surveys in locating the National Road.   The land on which it stands was purchased by Governor Joseph Duncan and col. William B. Archer, in 1818, at government prices of $1.25 per acre.   Archer laid out the town.   The first log cabin was erected there in 1835.