Madison County

DOUGLAS TOWNSHIP

History

This township is bounded on the north by Madison, on the south by Lincoln, on the east by Union, and on the west by Jackson. North river and Cedar creek pass through the township, flowing from west to east. There are several small streams and numerous springs. The township is finely located, and its natural advantages have been pretty thoroughly improved.

Irvin Baum was the first settler. He came in May, 1846, and was one of the very first settlers in the county, as well as the first in this particular township. William and Jacob Combs came soon after. Claiborn Pitzer came in '47, as did also Robert Evans, George Fry, Jacob Fry and Jackson Howard. R. P. Bruce and Jonathan Myers came here in '49. Eli Sulgrave, Emanuel and Sherwood Hamilton were among the other early settlers.

The present officers are: Justices - Wm. Garrett, Wm. H. Bard. Trustees - J. S. Ford, W. E. Terry, J. F. Hays. Constables - E. S. Mills, M. V. Henry. Assessor - James Foresman. Clerk - John M. Flanagan.

Ivin Baum had the misfortune to lose his cabin by fire a short time after it was put up. It was a log cabin, 18 by 20 feet, and one of the best in the county at that time. Without giving any notice the neighbors for many miles around assembled and put up another cabin for him. Similarly in 1847 the fences of Wm. Combs were destroyed by fire while he was absent in Missouri and his crops exposed to the depredations of stock. The neighbors at once got together and replaced Mr. Combs' fences.

Mr. Davies cites the following incident to show some of the pioneer experiences in this township: "During the severe winter of '57 the deep snow had so frozen and crusted on the top that it became impracticable for horses to travel on it; and the severe weather had continued so long that some of the settlers were becoming short of food. Under these circumstances Jacob Combs, William Combs, Irvin Baum and Lewis Baum determined on going to the mill to procure meal, and to do this they were obliged to beat the snow with wooden mauls all the way to Compton's mill, on Middle river; and in this way their horses were enabled to travel and they to obtain their meal. This is only one of the many hardships which the early settlers had to undergo.

Map

The map shown above was drawn just 4 years before the history shown above was written.  The map shows the North River starting in Section 7, traversing the township, and exiting in Section 12.  The two cemeteries active at the time are shown in red.  The McDoanld-Chase cemetery had just seen its first burial the year this map was made.  The map maker chose to show just 9 of the approximately 180 families who lived in the township at the time.

Douglas Township - 1875

Maintained by the County Coordinator

This page was created on July 23, 2004.
This page was last updated Thursday, 13-Apr-2017 17:03:47 EDT .