The St. Clair County Courthouse
completed in 1861
St. Clair County Genealogical Society (SCCGS)
Helping genealogists discover their Illinois roots since 1977.
More 1881 histories
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.
Shiloh was a very early settled portion of the county. There were, no doubt, families here a short time prior to 1800, but at this late date we are able to give only the parties who became permanent settlers. Many of those old pioneers located in various parts of the country, but so soon as others began settling around them, they would sell out their claims and move farther into the wilderness. It would, indeed, be a difficult matter to determine who was the first settler. No doubt, the Scotts were the first permanent settlers, as they located here in 1802. They were sons of William Scott, who located on Turkey Hill in the fall of 1797, and were among the very first American families in what is now St. Clair county. They were all natives of the "old dominion," and all came to this state with their father. He had six sons and one daughter, viz.: James, born August 15, 1772; William, born October 26, 1774; Samuel, born August 2, 1777; Elizabeth, born July 7, 1778; Joseph, born September 14, 1781; John, born January 10, 1784, and Alexander, born November 25, 1786. Elizabeth was married to John Jarvis, who came with the family in wagons to Illinois. They floated down the Ohio river to Fort Massacre, and from there traveled overland through southern Illinois, and located first at New Design. They remained there, however, but a few months, when in the fall of 1797 they settled on Turkey Hill in this county, where Mr. Scott, with the assistance of his sons, made a large farm. A more extended sketch of Mr. Scott may be seen in the Pioneer chapter [not transcribed for this web site] of this work, as in this precinct only those who settled here can be mentioned.
James Scott married Sarah Teter soon after he came to Illinois and in 1802 settled in what is now Shiloh precinct, just south of the village of Shiloh, on the place now owned by his youngest son, Philip. Here he erected a log cabin and began farming, which occupation he always followed, and where he always continued to reside. He was a natural mechanic, and adopted the trade of a cabinet maker, which he learned without any instruction, and followed together with farming. His children were: Mary, William, Franklin, Sarah, Madison, Zeno and Philip. They were all married and have descendants living. Zeno and Madison, who resided in Lebanon, and Philip, who lives on the old homestead, are all of the family now living.
William and Samuel Scott, sons of William Scott, settled about a half mile west of Shiloh village, at a very early date. William married Mississippi, a daughter of Judge William Biggs, by whom he had a large family: Nancy; George, who was wounded in the. hand and crippled for life in the Black Hawk war; William, deceased; Margaret, deceased; Whitfield, who resided in O'Fallon precinct, and Washington, who died on the way to California, were all of their children that grew up. William Scott died in 1835; Samuel married Nancy, also a daughter of Judge William Biggs, and reared a family. His son Benjamin had his head cut off by the Indians in 1832, in the Black Hawk war; William died in Missouri; John Milton, who is now Supreme Judge in this state, resides at Bloomington; Harrison, deceased; James resides at Belleville; his daughters, Elizabeth, Sarah and Margaret are dead.
Joseph, also son of grandfather William Scott, married Nancy Harrison, a niece of Gen. Harrison, of Ohio. She came to Illinois with her parents about 1800, and located at New Design. Mr. Scott settled two miles south of the village of Shiloh, on Sec. 17, about 1805. In 1809 he erected a small grist and powder mill on a branch of Silver creek, running through his place. It was a log building, and was propelled by an undershot water-wheel. For a number of years he continued the manufacture of a fine quality of powder. He procured the nitre in the caves on the Gasconade river, in Missouri, in the winter months, with but one companion, Joseph Dixon, when the whole country was filled with hostile Indians. This was undoubtedly the first powder mill in the state. Mr. Scott furnished the rangers, and hunters and sporting men of St. Louis with powder, but never sold it to the Indians. In 1828 he erected a wool carding machine in Belleville, the first in the place, which he successfully operated for several years. He became a resident of Belleville in 1838, and in this place served as justice of the peace for over twelve years. In his latter days he lived on the old homestead in Shiloh, where he died, about 1866, mourned by a large family and a host of friends. He was a man possessed of excellent judgment and good business qualities; honest and fair in all his dealings. Few men in his day were more enterprising and industrious than Mr. Scott. In politics he was a Whig, and a zealous anti-slavery advocate. He raised quite a large family: Mary, married James Park, died, and left two children; Felix married Nicey, a daughter of Gen. James B. Moore; he was born and grew to manhood on his father's place, where he continued to reside until 1878. He is now a resident, of Belleville, in the 74th year of his age. Mr. Scott has lived an active and industrious life, and is among the aged .and respected citizens of St. Clair county. Thomas died while young; Isaac died a few years ago, leaving a small family; Joseph lives in Arkansas, and Elizabeth, Sarah and Elias are also deceased; William died in 1840.
Alexander and John, sons of ,Willi am Scott, always lived in Belleville precinct, where they died and left large families.
A family of Jourdens settled the widow James Pierce's place
at a very early date, and built a fort. It was a strong blockhonse, enclosed with a palisade. They afterwards sold out to Silas Bankson, and he in turn sold to Daniel Pierce.
Joseph Dixon settled near the village of Shiloh as early as 1806. Dixon was a great hunter, and frequently made long trips, and returned laden with peltries. On one of these trips, in northern Missouri, he was robbed of his furs by a band of Indians. He subsequently moved to Sangamon county in this state. William Adams settled in this precinct as early as 1806. He was a blacksmith, and had a shop here at a very early day. A number of his descendants are now residing in the county. Hugh and William Alexander settled a little south-west of the village of Shiloh in 1811, and several of their descendants are among the respected citizens of the county. About the same time David Everett settled the place where Ira Manville now resides. He subsequently moved to Ottawa, in this state. Matthew Cox came about the same date. He was a son-in-law of Judge William Biggs; he remained here but a short time. The Calbreaths' two cousins, both named William, and John Middlecoff, settled on Silver creek. Joseph Griffen, Sen., purchased the Calbreath place, and it is now owned by his son, Joseph Griffen. James McCann, Henry Isballs, Josiah Hawkins, with a large family; the Prentices, with a large family of sons; Deacon Crocker, Williaam Moore, Benjamin Watts, whose descendants are numerous in southern Illinois, and Walter Westfield, who had a large family, some of whom are living in this vicinity, were all early settlers in this neighborhood. Daniel Pierce, a native of Pennsylvania, located on Sec. 8 in the spring of 1814. He had a family of seven children, only two of whom are now living in this county, viz.: Juliette A. Pierce and Hiram A., who resides on the old homestead and is one of the prominent farmers of the community. Daniel Pierce died in 1846.
Ira Manville was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, Nov. 23, 1795, and came with his father, Ira Manville, to this state in 1810. His father lived for six years in Kaskaskia, when he moved and settled six miles south of Athens, on the Kaskaskia river. At this point he kept a ferry until his death in 1821. The grandfather of the subject of this sketch was murdered at the Wyoming valley massacre, where a monument has been erected to their memory. In 1822 Mr. Manville settled in this precinct, on the place where he now resides. He served in the war of 1812, under Capt. Absalom Cox. He is now eighty-six years of age, and is still hearty and intelligent, and delights in telling stories of the pioneer days. When he settled here in 1822, he states that the following families lived in this neighborhood: Robert Hughes, David, Hugh and Wil1iam Alexander, James McCann, Robert and James Thomas, Josiah Hawkins, the Calbreaths, Louis Laramie, David Paine, Joseph Land, Ebenezer Harkness, Isaac Swan, Rev. William Moore, Stephen Cooper, the Scotts, Simons and Pickets, Samuel Allen, David Everett, Jesse Walker, David Walker, the father of George Walker, well known in the county; Joseph Dixon, Ebenezer Allen, an old Revolutionary soldier who was buried here in 1828; William Parker, Samuel Tozer, Daniel Pierce, Anthony Thomas, Daniel Wilbanks, Jerry Black, Benjamin Woods, Joshua Winters, James Park, Peter Wright, and perhaps a few other families, lived in what is now Shiloh at that date.
We show below the land entries(1) in 1814, as copied from the record: James McCann, N. half Sec. 2, 311 66/100ths acres, Sept. 23; R. and J. D. Thomas, S. W. quarter Sec. 2, 160 acres, Sept. 30; Silas Crane, N. E. quarter Sec. 3, 158 82/100th acres, Sept. 23; D. Everett and J. Walker, W. half Sec. 3, 320 acres, Sept. 3; Hugh Alexander, S. half Sec. 13, 320 acres, Aug. 24; Joseph Dixon, N. E. quarter Section 5, September 6; Matthew J. Cox, N. W. quarter Section 6, 147 40/100ths acres, Dec. 24; William Biggs, S. W. quarter Sec. 6, 143 85/100ths acres, Dec. 24; William Adams, N. E. quarter Sec. 7, 145 65/100ths acres, Aug. 24; James Scott, E. half and S. W. quarter, 480 acres in Sec, 8, Sept. 30; Silas Bankson, W. half Sec. 9, 320 acres, Sept. 23; David Alexander, S. W. quarter Sec. 10, 160 acres, Aug. 13; William Kinney, S. W. quarter Sec. 7, 150 60/100ths acres, Aug. 24.
The Michel family, who settled at an early date, were the first Germans to locate in this precinct. Henry Knoebel, a native of Bavaria, Germany, settled in this county in 1833, and resides on Sec. 3 of this precinct. Peter Weil, also a native of Germany, lives on Sec. 11, and came to this county, in 1837. S. G. Clark, a Tennesseean, came to St. Clair county in 1831, and resides on Sec. 15 of Shiloh.
The first school-house was erected of logs on the place now owned by H. A. Pierce, just opposite the present Cherry Grove school-house, at a very early date. There was also an early-school-house on the present site of the village of Shiloh. Rev. Clark, a Baptist minister, was an early teacher. A post-office was established at Cherry Grove as early as 1818, and Daniel Wilbanks was the first postmaster. This office was kept at several places in the settlement, and at Rock Spring, and in 1845 it was permanently located at Shiloh.
The first mill was erected by James McCann, on Sec,. 2. It was a horse mill, and at one time was quite popular. Hugh Alexander had a saw and grist ox mill and a distillery, on Sec. 4. Daniel Pierce also had an ox mill and distillery. These, with Scott's, above mentioned, were the pioneer mills.
The precinct, including the village of Shiloh, has a population of 792, according to the census of 1880.
VILLAGE OF SHILOH.
In Reynolds' Pioneer History of Illinois, we find that in the summer of 1807, Bishop McKendree, whose name has been perpetuated in the Methodist College at Lebanon, was one of the earliest Methodist ministers to preach in this vicinity. He had erected at Shiloh a log meeting-house, which was one of the earliest churches of this denomination in Illinois. He also organized and held a camp-meeting at this point the same year. There have been four churches erected by this denomination on the same spot. The present one is constructed of brick, and is a neat and costly edifice.
The first house erected in the village proper was by Edwin Pierce, in 1815. It is still standing, just in the rear of the church, and is known as the Gaag house. The next dwelling was built by Robert Dorey. Jacob Canmann erected the first store-house and opened the first stock of goods for sale, in 1845. Andrew Haege erected two or three houses, and his brother Jacob erected a dwelling and blacksmith shop about the same date. Jacob Haege was the first blacksmith. A steam saw-mill was erected by Edwin Pierce, Philip Scott and Charles Alexander, about 1847. The village is located in the north-western part of the precinct, near the O'Fallon line, and was laid out by Martin Stites and James Atkins.
It has the following business :
General Stores -Yaeger & Haase, Henry Friedewald.
Hotels –”Shiloh House," Charles Renner, proprietor;
"Union Hall," John Reppel, proprietor.
Blacksmith and Wagon Shop-F. W. Herbst.
Shoe Shops-Joseph Ley, H. Kemp.
Postmaster:Henry Friedewald. One mile east of the village is situated the saw-mill of Albert C. Reuss & Co. It is a frame building, constructed in 1880; they have steam power; considerable hard lumber is sawed, and a large stock is constantly kept on hand.
(1) These lands are the Public Domain Land Sales which began in 1814. Lands granted prior to 1814 satisfied Preemption (Squattors’) Rights, Militia Rights, Grants, and Donations. The Illinois State Archives has an online index to all Public Domain Land Sales in Illinois and can also provide documentation for Preemptions.