Derinda Township

Jo Daviess County, Illinois

The History of Jo Daviess County, Illinois,

Containing A History of the County - Its Cities,, Towns, Etc.
H. F. Kett & Co., 1878

p. 597-8

Robert Campbell made the first claim known in the Township of Derinda, in January, 1836, on section 7   Mr. Campbell had come to Illinois from Scotland by the unusual route of Hudson's Bay and the Red River of the North, having become an employe of the Hudson's Bay Company, at the Selkirk Settlement   After making his claim, Mr. Campbell returned to Galena until 1838, when he removed with his family to his land   In the meantime other settlers had been attracted to that vicinity by the fertile valleys and rolling prairies along Big and Little Rush Creeks   In the Spring of 1836, William and Thomas Oliver entered claims on the western border of the township, but built their houses across the line, in Hanover Township, so that the first house built in Derinda Township, except a cabin of Mr. Cook on section 1, was by Samuel McGrath, who came, with his family, in October of the same year   Jonathan Hendershot, Absalom Roberts, Jacob Handel and others soon followed.

In 1836, David Barr purchased the claim of Mr. Cook, to eighty acres, forming the northeast corner of the township, and, as the farms began to develop, he started a store   Mr. Barr * was one of the first justices of the township, and was made postmaster in 1853, his house being on a stage route between Galena and Dixon   The post-office is now called "Derinda," and is kept by Mrs. John Leonard   Another post-office has been established in section 17, called "Derinda Centre," at a store which was opened by Joseph Petit in 1867, and is now kept by Robert McGrath.

A large majority of the settlers are German and Irish, some of whom at the time of the land sale in 1847, were unable to pay in money for the claims which they had labored to cultivate   Consequently many of them accepted the offer of a banker of Dixon, to purchase the land in his name, and deed it to them when they were able to pay the usual price and an additional 33 1/3 per cent as his commission   School was first kept in the township by John McKinley, in his own house, on section 8   The first school- house was built in the south part of section 5, in 1839   There are now seven school districts, each having a good, substantial school-house.

The first preaching in the township was by Samuel McGrath, at his residence, where, afterwards, Mr. Schunk, a young circuit rider, held occasional meetings   The first church was one which the German Methodist Church members purchased at Galena, in 1855, took apart and brought to this township in wagons, erecting it again on section 21   Rev. Philip Funk occupied the pulpit of this church as first regular pastor   At present the membership is not large enough to support a pastor.

The Albright Evangelical Church.--Many Germans were converted to the Methodist Episcopal belief in Ohio and elsewhere, as early as 1830  About that time a German, named Albright, received permission from theM. E. Conference to labor in the ministry   In order to reach many of his countrymen, who did not understand English, he began preaching in the German language   To this the Conference made repeated objections, so that those people organized the Albright Evangelical Church, embracing the Methodist religion, but permitting worship in either language   To day it is a permanent and comparatively strong denomination.

Such a society was organized at an early date in Derinda Township   They held meetings in the school-house for many years, and built their church on Section 27, in 1856   Rev. Mr. Sendlinger acted as first pastor in the church   At present, the minister is Rev. Mr. Riemenschneiter.

The First German Lutheran Church was organized by Rev. Mr. List, in 1856   A number of other ministers had preached occasionally in private houses   Their church was erected in 1858, on Section 22   At present, Rev. Theodore Seilor is their pastor   It is a strong, progressive society.

The Second German Lutheran Church was organized about the same time, and has been directed by the same pastors   Its church was built on Section 16, in 1872   Meetings were held for some years in the school-house and the old Methodist Church.

The Methodist Episcopal Church (English) has held services in the Derinda Centre School House since 1857   The Hanover pastor, Rev. Mr. Soule, now officiates.

In 1860, the population of the Township was 818; in 1870 it numbered 804.

No alteration has been made in its boundaries since the time of organization, in 1853.

The first officers of the township were: Supervisor, William McGrath; Clerk, William Jordan; Road Commissioners, Thomas Oliver, Alexander Molison, and Jacob Buck   The present officers are: Supervisor, William Logan; Clerk, Albert Dittmar; Road Commissioners, Joseph Khiel, Michael Gouse, and William Skene; Justices of the Peace, Ehrhardt Dittmar and John Rogers.

* At an election held for the purpose of choosing a name for the township, the votes were very nearly tied between the name of "New Germany," and Rush   This name, however, had been already taken by another township, so that it was reported back to the officer of this township--Mr. Barr   He decided the matter by reporting the name of his wife, "Derinda," which name was accepted.

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