Caseyville Precinct (now Caseyville Township), St. Clair County, Illinois

The St. Clair County Courthouse
completed in 1861

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Much information in this history is factual as recalled by people living at that time. However, memories are not perfect, and all researchers are urged to verify the people, relationships, places, and events mentioned below with civil, governmental, private, and religious documents written more closely to the actual fact stated. Many of these original record groups are identified and located in St. Clair County Research and Resources, available from the Society.

Caseyville Precinct

Scanned and proofread from pages 247 and 248 of St. Clair County History, (Philadelphia: Brink, McDonough, and Company, 1881). This history does have some errors in it so it is prudent to confirm the statements below with other sources closer to the actual event. Any additions by the webmaster within the text are surrounded by [brackets]. Footnotes have been added, and appear at the end of the sketch.

Precincts were those areas of the county that later became townships in 1884. Precincts defined the boundaries of polling districts for local and state elections. Justices of the Peace were elected for each precinct and carried out some civil legal functions. For example, a Justice of the Peace could peform a marriage and hear legal disputes between two parties. While all marriages were to be recorded at the county level, the J.P. was only required to keep a docket of minor civil disputes, not a full record of the proceedings. Very few dockets survive to this day.


p. 247
THIS is one of the northern tier of precincts, bounded on the north by Madison county, east by O’Fallon, south by O’Fallon and French Village, and west by East St. Louis. It contains twenty-three sections or about 14,720 acres. It is drained by Canteen creek and its affluents in the northern and eastern part, and the Grand Marias in the southwestern. Caseyville, situated a little north of the geographical centre of the precinct is the only village within its borders. The Ohio & Mississippi, and the St. Louis, Vandalia & Terre Haute Railroad enter the western part of the precinct and run side-by-side until they reach Caseyville, when the latter takes a northeasterly course and passes out on section three. From Caseyville the O. & M. runs in a southeasterly course and passes out on section 27. The surface of the precinct is divided between bottom lands and bluffs. The line separating the two passes through Caseyville in nearly a northeastern and southwestern direction from that point. In early times the bottom lands' included in third precinct were covered with water the greater part of the year, and only for a few years back have they been drained so as to insure crops when sown. The bluffs in the region of Caseyville are very rugged, and mostly covered with a heavy growth of timber. They are composed principally of sand, clay and gravel. Hence, from these facts, the territory embracing Caseyville was not so early settled as some of the precincts adjoining it.

Below we give the lands that were entered in what is now Caseyville precinct, in the year 1814, as taken from the county records which may show the names of some old settlers.(1).

In T. 2 N. R. 8 W. [Township 2 North Range 8 West], we find the following: Joseph Cornelius, S. W. ¼, Sec. 5 153 acres, Sept. 28; John Swigart, 324 acres in Sec. 7, Aug. 31; heirs of J. R. Simpson, S. W. ¼, Sec. 10, 160 acres, Dec. 22; Joseph Baird, W. ½ of the N. W. ¼, Sec. 18, 89 acres, Dec. 2; Robt. Marlott, 96 acres in Sec. 18, Sept. 29; in T. 8 N. R.9 W., we find, heirs of Solomon Brown, S. E. ¼ Sec. 13, 160 acres, Sept. 28, 1814.

In 1826 George Moffett, a native of Delaware, settled near the Madison county-line. He was quite a wealthy man, and purchased considerable land in the vicinity. He left several descendants. The same year Marcus Pelham, a South Carolinian, located at the edge of the bluffs, near the present site of Caseyville. He and part of his family are buried here, and at this writing none are residing in the neighborhood. Simon Kingston, also from South Carolina, came with Pelham and located just south of him. His son, Simon Kingston, a druggist in Troy, Madison county, is the only descendant of his now living. He and his wife were buried in the bluffs; near Caseyville. A man by the name of Decker, settled early in the decade of 1830 on the bluffs east of Caseyville, and afterwards moved to California. One McClanahan settled near Decker, on the present farm of T. Hueckel, and subsequently emigrated to Minnesota. Mr. Kennedy, an Irishman, settled in the same neighborhood about 1834. He left a small family. Levi Nichols, who resides about four miles from Caseyville, settled here at an early date. Dommique Morback, a native of France, settled in this county in 1838, and owns a fine property on section 15 of T.2 N. R. 9 W., where he now resides. Joseph Delorme, who lives on section 12, T. 2-9 [T.2 N. R. 9 W], is an [n]ative of this county born in 1837.

Many facts pertaining to the early history of this precinct may be found in the pioneer and other chapters of this work.

Coal mining is the leading interest of this precinct. On the Vandalia line there are three mines. The Abby shaft No.1, was sunk by Maule and Williams in 1868. It is 160 feet in depth, and the vein will average six feet. The Abby shaft No.2 was sunk in 1873 by the Abby coal mining company, the present operators. The depth and vein is about the same as the other mine. They employ about 160 men and boys. The Springwell mine, still east of the others, was sunk in 1874, by the Bartlett Coal Company, and is now operated by the Springwell Company. Coal is reached at 160 feet, and the vein is full six feet in thickness. The other mines will be mentioned in the history of the

VILLAGE OF CASEYVILLE

The village was named in honor of Zadock Casey, who held many high offices in the state. In 1830 he was elected Lieutenant Governor, was a member of Congress for many years, and for several terms served in the state legislature.

Prior to the laying out of the village, Charles Harbour, a wealthy Frenchman, erected a fine large brick residence, and a steam saw mill, which he operated for several years. The mill was erected in 1845.

It was laid out as a village in 1849, by the Illinois Coal Company, consisting of the following named parties: Hon. Zadock Casey, Judge Walter B. Scates, Charles Harbour, Malcomb Robinson, Dr. Charles Barrett and John Roy. This company began the operation of coal mining extensively about this period. The mines were then worked by drifts, instead of shafts as now, two of which they dug into the side of the bluffs at this point. Until 1851, the coal was hauled to St. Louis by ox and mule teams across the bottoms. In February, 1851, the company completed a railroad from Caseyville to Brooklyn on which they immediately placed a locomotive, and rolling stock, and large quantities of coal were daily carried into St. Louis.

page 248

The first house erected after the village was laid out, was in the spring of 1849, by Jameson Robinson. Dr. Barrett, erected four houses, John Roy, eight, and Gov. Casey, two, about the time the company began operations. In the same year, 1849, the following erected residences :--Belshazar Warner, Ralph Whitehead, Edward Bone, William Grice, and Mr. Bumesaw. The latter was a Frenchman, and the following year was killed in the mines. He was the first miner killed in the village. The same year, John Roy built a large two-story frame building, and kept in it the first hotel, store and saloon. Richard Goff was the company's blacksmith, and the first in the village. B. Warner also had a saloon in 1849.

In 1850 there were in the place about forty persons, including men, women and children, and the year following, when the railroad was completed, about one hundred and fifty were added to the population. The village has grown a little each year, with the increase of the mining interests and improvement of the surrounding country, and now contains about 800 population.

A post-office was not established here until 1856. Maj. E. M. Mallory was the first postmaster, and also the first Justice of the Peace.

Incorporation.- The place was incorporated by special charter in April, 1869. The members of the first board were--C. L. Muilberger, President; J. T. Hoeltmann, Frederick Ruemler, John Roy, J. W. Owens. In April, 1875, it came under the general law for villages. The present members are-John T. Hoeltmann, President; Frederick Ruemler, George Haig, David Morgan, G. Nuetzel, James Doyle, Sr., James Throly, Clerk.

School.--The present public school building in the south-east part of the village, was erected in 1872, and cost upward of $5000, including furniture. It is a fine brick building, two stories high, with belfry. It is a graded school and employs three teachers.

Church--There is but one house of worship in the village--the Union Chapel, built in 1879 by private subscription, at a cost of about $1800. . It is a neat frame building about 30 x 46 feet. It is controlled by a board of directors, and used by all denominations.

BUSINESS TRADE OF 1881.

Physicians.-J. L. Wiggins, L .T. Miller.
General Stores, J. T. HoeItmann, J. W. Owens, M. Jenkins, and Miller & Hueckel.
Groceries, E. Webb, Mrs. A. Williams.
Flour and Feed Store, F. Hoeltmann.
Blacksmith Shops, F. Ruemler:, C. Schwarzkopf.
Wagon Shop, Fred. Moser.
Carpenter, Shop, Wm. M. Kersey.
Butcher Shop, Joseph Maisch.
Hotel, Brown House, Peter Brown, proprietor.
Saloons, John Meyer, Jacob Mees, John Michel, F. Geisert, David Molloy, Fritz Nuetzel.

Mill. The saw mill built by Harbour, mentioned above, was converted into a flouring mill by John Roy, and a few years afterwards was blown up. In 1866, Mr. Roy rebuilt it and put in two run of burrs. It is a frame building, three stories high, in good condition, but at present it is not operated. Jerome Winstanley is the present owner.

Lodges.--Crescent, No. 426, I. O. O. F., was instituted July 1st, 1870. Has a membership of 67, and is in good standing. Star of Hope, No. 149, Encampment, was chartered April 8th, 1880, and has considerable membership. A Temperance Society was organized here as early as 1851, and has a good membership.

Coal Mines.-The Savitz Bro's of St. Louis, are operating two coal mines on the O. & M. track, just east of the village, and employ about 120 miners. The mines are known as the Union and St. Clair. They are about one hundred and sixty feet in depth, and the veins will average full six .feet. The former shaft was sunk by Walter Williams, in 1858, and the latter by Thomas Mayer & Bro., in 1862. The Black Diamond mine was sunk by Smith and Winnemier, in 1864. This mine is not now in operation.


FOOTNOTES

(1) These lands are the Public Domain Land Sales which began in 1814. Some may be lands granted as Preemption (Squattors’) Rights. The Illinois State Archives has an online index to all Public Domain Land Sales in Illinois and can also provide documentation for Preemptions.

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