Township Organization


History of Jo Daviess County   1904

On February 17, 1851, an act was passed by the State Legislature providing that, at any general election that may be held in the several counties of the State, the qualified voters in any county might vote for or against township organization, and the County Court, on petition of fifty legal voters of said county, should cause the question to be submitted to the legal voters of the county. If the returns showed a majority in favor of township organization, then the County Court should appoint three commissioners, residents of the county, who should divide the county into towns or townships, making as many towns as there are townships, according to government survey, and the towns should be named in accordance with the expressed wish of the inhabitants of the town; and if there should not be a degree of unanimity as to the name, the commissioners might designate the name. The requisite number of voters having petitioned the County Court, that tribunal called an election to be held in the month of November, 1852, to determine whether or not Jo Daviess County should adopt township organization. The vote being in the affirmative, the County Court, at its December term, 1852, appointed Charles R. Bennet, George N. Townsend and David T. Barr as commissioners to divide the county of Jo Daviess into towns. At the February term of said Court in 1853 the commissioners made a report of their work and divided the county into seventeen towns, which were named as follows:

Nora Courtland Elizabeth Jefferson Thompson
 Rush Stockton Scales Ward's Grove  Pleasant Valley
Mann Menominee Derinda Guilford  Hanover
East Galena, West Galena


Afterwards the Township of Menominee was divided and a new township created called Dunleith.

West Galena was also divided at a later period, a new town being created called Rawlins.

East Galena was also afterwards divided and a new town created called Washington, which name was afterwards changed to Rice.

The Town of Thompson was also divided afterwards, and a new town created called Apple River.

Pleasant Valley was also divided and a new town created called Berreman.

The Town of Scales was also divided and a new town created called Council Hill and the name Scales was changed to Scales Mound.

By vote of the people the name of the town of Mann was changed to Vinegar Hill,

that of Courtland to Warren and the name Jefferson to Woodbine; so that, at the present writing (1903), Jo Daviess County contains twenty-three towns whose names are as follows:

Nora Elizabeth Warren Woodbine Scales Mound
Rush Stockton Thompson Ward's Grove Pleasant Valley
Rice Derinda Menominee Vinegar Hill Council Hill
Rawlins Hanover Dunleith Guilford Apple River
East Galena West Galena Berreman

When East Galena was divided and a new township formed out of its territory, the latter received the name Washington after the first President, but this was afterward changed to Rice, in honor of Henry A. Rice, who settled in the township in 1821, and who died there in 1874.

East and West Galena were so named because of the lead ore found within their boundaries.

The Township of Mann was named after Harvey Mann, an early settler of the township, who was Chairman of the first Board of Supervisors that ever assembled in Jo Daviess County; but afterwards, by vote of the people, the name of the town was changed from Mann to Vinegar Hill, after a village of that name in Ireland.

The Township of Rawlins was named after General John A. Rawlins, formerly chief of Grant's staff.

Guilford was named by General John A. Rawlins, its honored son.

The Town of Scales Mound was first named Scales, in honor of an early settler within its borders, but was afterwards changed to Scales Mound the same having reference to one of the highest points of land in the State of Illinois.

Council Hill was so named because, before it was organized into a separate town, there had been a council held with Indian tribes within its borders; and tradition has it that Black Hawk addressed his followers from the bluff just south of Lupton Station on the Illinois Central.

The Town of Thompson was named after one of its early settlers by the name of Thompson. When it was first organized into a town, there was a large stream running through it upon the banks of which grew a large number of crab-apple trees, from which the stream took the name of Apple River; and when the town was formed, it took its name from this river.

The Township of Menominee was named after the tribe of Menominee Indians. This name was suggested by James Finley, its first Supervisor.

Pleasant Valley was so named because it is practically a valley with fine scenery, and is, as its name implies, a "pleasant valley."

It is said that the Town of Berreman was given its name by one A. Mahony, a resident of the township, and that he named it after a. friend of his then living in Tennessee.

Derinda was named after a lady residing in the township at the time the town was organized.

Stockton was so named by its inhabitants at the time the town was organized. Its name is said to have been suggested by Alanson Parker, who described it as a beautiful stock country.

Ward's Grove is said to have been named in honor of Bernard Ward, who was its first settler, and who owned a fine grove of timber situated within its borders.

The first name of the present Town of Warren was Courtland, which name was suggested by Mr. A. L. Brink to Charles Cole, who was present at the meeting of the Commissioners when the different towns were first named. The first post office in the Township of Courtland was named Warren by Alexander Burnett, and was named after Burnett's native place, which was Warren, Ohio. Afterwards, at the request of a majority of the people of Courtland, it was changed to Warren.

The Township of Elizabeth was named in honor of Mrs. Elizabeth Winters, who kept the first hotel within the bounds of the township. Such was her popularity among the people of the township that, when they were called upon to give it a name, they named it Elizabeth in her honor.

It is probable that the name of the Township of Woodbine has a botanical derivation. There is a plant called the woodbine, the botanical name of which is cissus, which is found wild in woods and thickets and is a vigorous plant supporting itself firmly on trees by means of its radiating tendrils, and it is more than probable that the town of Woodbine was given its name because of this plant.

It is not certain just why the Town of Nora was so called. It is supposed to have been so named by some of the officials of the Illinois Central Railroad, probably after a daughter of one of them.

The Town of Rush was named after two streams called Little and Big Rush Creek, which both start in said town, and they are supposed to have derived their names because of their rapid flowage.

In the early 'forties, what is now the Village of Hanover was called Wapello, and there was a post office at that place with J. W. White as postmaster. There was also a post office called Wapello in Iowa, and much confusion arose it, the distribution of mail matter and, at the suggestion of Mr. White, the name of the Jo Daviess County post office was changed from Wapello to Hanover, and when the town was formed it took the name of Hanover from the post office. It will thus be seen that the Town of Hanover owes its name to J. W. White, who still lives within its borders and who is one of its most honored citizens.

Dunleith is said to have derived its name from some town in Scotland.

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