Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©1998 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Laurel Crook and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Aug. 11, 1998

Early in this century, Carmi businessman T.W. Hay occasionally wrote items of historic interest for the local newspaper. The April 2, 1914 issue of the White County Democrat carried this article with a headline about the county's first grist mill. However, most of the article is concerned with early land owners of White County.

"David Burrell entered the northeast one-fourth of the northwest quarter of Section 8, Town 5, Range 10, which is northeast of Carmi about 2 1/2 miles and is the place where McHenry Slough empties into the Little Wabash River. The Big Four Railroad crosses this slough nearby where Burrell built the first grist mill in the county in about the year 1842, as it was on Nov. 6, 1832, that he entered this piece of land from the government. "Burrell dammed the slough near its mouth and ran the water through a hollow log, which made the water fall upon an old fashioned water wheel, which furnished the power for his meager enterprise. The capacity of this mill was about five bushels of corn per hour.

"Prior to this time, however, Burrell had lost this 40 acres on account of debt he had made for $100 to Charles I. Weed (whose son visited Carmi a few months ago and erected a stone to his grave in our old cemetery). After losing this 40 acres, Burrell purchased three acres upon which he built his mill as above mentioned for which he paid $11 therefor.

"Burrell was a very energetic fellow and overcame his misfortune evidently, for soon thereafter he purchased from Edwin B. Webb (father of J. R. Webb, late of Carmi) 80 acres of land which comprises the same forty long with an adjoining forty acres, for which he paid $40 for the 80 acres. "The western half of this Section 8, Town 5, Range 10, was entered from the government by Richard Graham on June 9, 1829, and on April 10, 1834, Archilles Graham entered from the government the southeast one-fourth of the southwest quarter which was forty acres. The only person entering a full quarter in this section was John Craw who entered the southwest quarter on May 2, 1815, which will be 99 years ago this May. While Daniel McHenry preceded any of the above gentlemen as it was on Aug. 2, 1814, that he entered the southeast quarter of this same section. This is the quarter section upon which the McHenry Chapel stands, at the east end of the rock road, running east from Carmi.

"The southwest quarter was heired by a daughter of John Craw, who married a doctor by name of West and moved to Mt. Erie. On Oct. 15, 1857, Harriet Craw and husband sold this quarter section to George E. Staley of Carmi for $1,600, which was $10 an acre. This was the first sale made in this quarter section. At this time, it was very heavily set with virgin timber which if standing at the present time would be worth many thousands of dollars.

"Mr. Staley sold this quarter section together with 120 acres adjacent lands to James R. Webb, on April 29, 1886, for a consideration of $22,750, and, by the way, it might be well to explain that Mr. Webb thought he was imposed upon for having been forced to take these lands as Mr. Staley had defended and befriended a friend which caused this to be a forced sale, and in reality, Mr. Staley received nothing for his lands." (To be continued)

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